A Professor of Economics, Sola Olorunfemi of the Department of Economics, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, has cautioned against the precarious state of food security in Nigeria, urging immediate action from government authorities to avert what he termed an impending time bomb.
Prof. Olorunfemi handed down this warning on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, while delivering the 21st Inaugural Lecture of the University, titled, Fragilities of Food Security amidst Macroeconomic Issues: A Ticking Time Bomb!.
Highlighting the fragility of food security in Nigeria, Prof. Olorunfemi stressed the vulnerability of the food situation, emphasizing the need for urgent intervention. He recommended that federal and state governments heed the available warnings and implement solutions to address the looming threat of food shortage.
Professor Olorunfemi recommended encouragement and enhancement of local food production to ensure stability in both production and supply; allocation of additional arable land for farming purposes to support increased agricultural activities; increase in financial allocation to the agriculture sector to strengthen research and extension services; and an upward review of household incomes to make them less prone to food insecurity.
The professor emphasized the importance of public enlightenment on household nutritional requirements and urged the implementation of policies to reduce the cost of food. He called for educational programmes to raise awareness about adequate nutrition, vocational training to improve skills and income-earning opportunities, and proper planning of households.
The Professor of Economics highlighted the significance of population control policies, reduction in family size, attention to the dependent age group, social services policies for easy accessibility, stable macroeconomic policies, and microeconomic policies designed for increased food production and economic access to food.
He warned, The fragilities of food security are seriously with us. The food situation in Nigeria is so fragile; delicate and unlikely to be able to resist strong pressure or attack if care is not taken. Therefore, to avoid the imminent time bomb, the federal and state governments ought to heed available warnings and implement solutions to the impending threat of food shortage.”
“Increased food supply and food availability enhance stability in both food production and supply. Local production of foods that are of low availability in the country should be encouraged. More arable land should be allotted for farming purposes; and enabling conditions should be provided as incentives for more participatory engagement in the agricultural sector.
“More funding should be allocated to the agricultural sector, while there is need to strengthen alternative financing such as agricultural insurance schemes, farmers cooperatives etc. The more income a household earns, the less prone to food insecurity the household tends to become. Therefore, effort must be made to prioritise more income generating opportunities for the people.
“Food prices are also essential determinants of food security. Food prices seem to be rising faster than the income of households. As a result of inadequate purchasing power, the poor households may not have access to food. Since the government does not exercise control over food prices, and given the lack of formal safety net, it is recommended that it is important to design and implement policies that will eventually reduce the cost of food.
He argued that the development of infrastructures in rural areas was parallel to agricultural development, urging, Facilities such as good feeder roads will enhance evacuation of output and transportation of inputs to the rural areas. In particular, on-farm storage facilities are appropriate for specific agricultural enterprises. Such storage structures should be designed and commercialized for use in rural areas.”
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, had earlier in his remarks, said apart from being a momentous academic ceremony, marking the celebration of an academic staff member’s appointment to professorship, Inaugural Lecture served as a platform to share accomplishments in research, innovations, engagements, and teaching with the University community and the wider public.