New Telegraph

Don Hinges Food Security on Revamping Of Nation’s River Basins

To increase agric production and curb food inflation in the country, Professor Olufemi Ajayi of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has called on the Federal Government to revamp all of the nation’s river basins to encourage year-round farming. Prof Ajayi made this statement in an interview with journalists in Lagos, recently.

He mentioned that many facilities at the river basins had been abandoned for too long, rendering them obsolete, adding that the government must revitalise the nation’s river basins to promote continuous food production, as this is the way forward. The scholar also urged on the need to empower, train, register, and protect all farmers. Prof. Ajayi explained: “It is unfortunate that we had to wait until now when people are protesting because we have been warning for a long time about the looming food crisis.

“The food crisis is imminent, not just due to production alone but also because of our heavy reliance on imports. With the recent liberalization of the dollar, the cost of importing these foods will increase, and the cost of domestic production will also rise.” The don also called on the Federal Government to address insecurity in food-producing states, as farmers are too afraid to return to their farms. “Insecurity is a major issue; farmers are at the mercy of insurgents, leading them to abandon their fields and cease production.

With the upcoming wet season, many farmers are still hesitant to return to their farms due to fear. “As a nation, we need to come together to address these problems comprehensively. Insurgency is just the beginning of our challenges. “The government should provide security for farmers so that they feel safe and can resume production processes without fear for their lives, property, and investments,” he added. Regarding the release of crops from the grain reserves, the professor stated that it was not the appropriate action.

“The purpose of having grain reserves is to prepare for eventualities such as climate change, floods, insurgency challenges, and more. These reserves are not meant to address production challenges that would necessitate their consumption,” he explained. Prof. Ajayi emphasised that releasing grains from the nation’s reserves would not solve the current challenges unless measures were taken to ensure that the grains reached every household. He suggested that the government establish a mechanism and timeframe for replenishing the nation’s food reserves.

To tackle the rising food inflation in the country, the Don recommended that the Federal Government engage experts to provide lasting solutions through a holistic approach. He criticised the current approach of addressing the issue superficially rather than addressing it at its root cause. Identifying the root cause of the problem is crucial in finding a sustainable solution.

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