As Nigeria attains 60 years of Independence on Thursday, an agriculture expert, Mr Africafarmer Mogaji has reviewed the stride in the area of agriculture and proffer some solution toward food sufficiency.
Mogaji, the Chairman, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
He acknowledged some positive steps that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had taken to enable the country to attain food sufficiency.
He, however, said “there is room for improvement”.
The LCCI group chairman suggested that the Federal Government adopts a national policy on climate change in order to attain food self-sufficiency.
While reviewing the agricultural sector in the last six decades, Mogaji said that Nigeria “is not yet close to attaining food self-sufficiency because the government was yet to integrate climate change in her policies.
He said the government was yet to integrate the challenges of climate change as an integral part of planning.
According to him, there is a lot of noise around irrigation but it is not all farm cultivation that can be irrigated.
“We need a national policy on irrigation, the same way we are promoting maize.
“I did a study in India, where the government is promoting flood irrigation and field irrigation, where the government is funding 60 per cent for commercial people and 40 per cent for the private sector.
“We need a national policy around irrigation and storage facilities,’’ he said.
Mogaji noted that the country does not have enough commercial silos, adding that it requires a lot of foreign currency to acquire the facilities.
He said that Nigeria could make do with natural facilities like warehouses to store excess food and prevent wastage.
“We don’t have enough commercial silos but we can have enough storage, not necessarily silos.
“Commercial silos are heavily dependent on the dollar, while we can make do with natural facilities like warehouses.
“We can have storage without using silos at least on the immediate to make sure we meet our needs.
Speaking on food wastage, Mogaji said the government needed to prioritise developing cottage processing value chain.
He lamented that many people still see agriculture as a subsistence thing, even though they are talking about agriculture as a business.
“Their activities don’t show. If it is a value chain, you must take from seed to post-harvest but that is not what is happening.
“What is happening is they are too focused on planting tomato, harvest tomato as against what varieties of tomato do the processors want.
For us to tackle food wastage in Nigeria, he said the government must have processors who are on small scale and who are based in the rural communities.
“It is not what we currently have. All we need to do is focus on small cottages. (NAN)