Grace O. Abu
For a country to be ideally independent, such country must be self-sufficient when it comes to food security. When a country has
difficulty in producing what it consumes, then there is imbalance of trade and that will affect the
per-capital income of the country. If a country cannot achieve self-sufficiency in technology,
resources, or other sectors due to environmental location and/or other factors; it should at least be
able to achieve such in terms of food production (agriculture). For a country like Nigeria, the
acclaimed giant of Africa, that has over 200 million citizens; it is imperative for her to be able to
produce its own agricultural consumption especially for the fact that it is blessed with natural and
human (manpower) resources needed to achieve this goal. Food security is defined as “the access
for all people at all times to have enough food for a healthy, active life. Food self-sufficiency is
defined as being able to meet consumption needs (particularly for staple food crops) from own
production rather than buying or importing.
The reforms started in 2011 when the then Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina reduced
and subsidized cost of fertilizers for farmers. He also made the fertilizers get to the farmers
directly instead of through the corrupt politicians.
The economies of most African nations in the world depend primarily on one or two sectors making
them particularly vulnerable to international market fluctuations and encouraging over-exploitation
of natural resources. Thus the need for “sustainable development” an all embracing concept which
calls for environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially
acceptable development, poses dramatic challenges to developing countries like Nigeria in terms of
diversifying the economies; providing income and employment opportunities for their citizens and
intensifying product. Population pressure and inequitable distribution of resources undermine
efforts to feed the citizens.
What are trends like?
For every negative or retrogressive trend to be reversed, reformation is necessary. China had series
of challenges in the past, however, between 1960-1970 they had their cultural revolution which
greatly impacted on the agricultural production years later.
In 2013, Nigeria was the second highest importer of rice; however, after conscious and practical
steps which occurred during the period, things started to change drastically. The Nigerian annual
economic summit was held and for the first time, the focus was on agriculture; a move made
possible by the then president Goodluck Jonathan whose commitment was to fix the country’s
The reforms started in 2011 when the then Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina reduced and
subsidized cost of fertilizers for farmers. He also made the fertilizers get to the farmers directly
instead of through the corrupt politicians. Higher cassava production has also been used to flour,
thereby reducing wheat imports; banks’ lending to agriculture also increased from $22 million in
2012 to $159 million in 2013; duties on agricultural equipment were scrapped and tax breaks given
to companies willing to invest in farming and industrial processes. These reforms are needed to
reduce reliance on a struggling oil sector and to achieve self-sufficiency.
Food Security: Improvements anticipated
The country still needs to do more in the struggle to attain self-sufficiency by implementing and
evolving policies that will help and increase food production; some Nigerians have shown foresight
by building factories that process agricultural products within the country. Thereby creating value
chain that boosts employment, protect our foreign reserves, safeguard the economy from external
shocks and encourage Nigerian farmers to adopt modern, technology-driven methods that
guarantee higher production and returns on investment.
Grace O. Abu is program assistant, Women & Children Safety Program, Cal-maji Foundation.