A university don, Prof. Foluke Aderemi has canvassed an optimum agricultural production level to tackle poverty and food insecurity in the country.
Prof. Aderemi of the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, said this during the sixth inaugural lecture of the university.
While lamenting the escalating level of poverty in the country, she stressed the need for youths to embrace agriculture as a course of study, adding that with agriculture, the youth could be job initiators rather than job seekers.
She said: “The escalating problem of poverty has become an issue of concern to both the victim countries, as well as the international development partners. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2017), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, 2017) and the World Food Programme (WFP, 2017) have reported that the largest proportion of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa are highly undernourished.
“The Global Index scores for Hunger (GHI) for 2017 in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia range between 29.4 and 30.9 per cent, respectively. This is a serious hunger situation, implying that about three out of every 10 people experience serious hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria has implemented macroeconomic policies, as well as sectoral and institutional reforms aimed at ensuring high and sustainable poverty reduction, food security and economic growth.
“It is noteworthy that some of these initiatives by government were ineffective in addressing the problem. Some of these initiatives date back to the days of widespread implementation of economic reform programmes aimed at enhancing prudent management of national resources that will facilitate economic growth.”
She noted that the magnitude of poverty in developing countries had contributed immensely to food insecurity in the country, adding that Nigeria has 36 states and is the most populous country in Africa with a population of about 170 million as of 2012 (Population 2012) with over 70 per cent of the population living on less than a dollar a day (Watts 2006).
“By the year 2050, the projected population will be 402 million making Nigeria the 4th most populous country on earth after India, China and the United States (Population 2012).
“Agriculture as a course is self-sufficient so that our youth can take the advantage and become job creators instead of seeking jobs. We all know in this country it is not so, the simple reason is lack of enabling facilities and environment. Only an optimum agricultural production level will be able to help alleviate poverty, provide food security and meet other needs of such a growing population.”