Environmental matters and food sufficiency

Discourse revolving around the environment and food sufficiency would continue to be relevant as long as man continues to live on the planet. This is a reality that we must not shy away from such that necessary machinery should be put in place by ensuring that our environment is safe for all without going hungry.

It is on this note that a few days ago, the Minister of Environment, Abass Balarabe, expressed optimism about the solutions to the negative effects of climate change. Lawal made this known in Abuja at the 9th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall. “I am optimistic that the deliberations of this 9th session would provide meaningful solutions for combating the negative effects of climate change and provide an avenue to attain a healthier and greener environment for our communities to thrive. A conducive environment ultimately leads to productivity and healthy lifestyle for us and our future generations”, the minister said.

It is also on record that the 8th session of the council commenced with a tree planting exercise, which is still maintained and sustained by this administration. After the 8th session, Nigeria as a member state, has implemented more recommendations of the council”, he said. Furthermore, the Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Salako, said that in the face of the many environmental challenges that confront Nigeria, commitment and collaboration become the greatest asset. The Great Green Wall initiative, a monumental project aimed at combating desertification, land degradation, and climate change, stands as a beacon of hope and unity for our continent.

Salako recalled that the gathering is a testament to the collective commitment to addressing the environmental challenges that affect the lives of millions across Africa and indeed the world. According to him, Africa holds the key to nature-based solutions to slow down global warming and climate change, especially when necessary caution is taken. This charge by the minister is similar to the point made by another expert

In a related development, Nigerians have been advised to be conscious of their environment and desist from any activity that could cause climatic depletion and environmental degradation. This piece of advice was given by an Environmental Health Officer, Sanitarian Taiwo Akinwumi in Abeokuta, Ogun state. He described environmental degradation as any activity that depletes the quality of the air, water and land environment, saying environmental degradation also includes any human activity that constitutes poor effect on the environment, thereby reducing the quality of such environment.

The officer reiterated that persistent rainfall could wreck a lot of havoc on the environment and on the health of the people living in such an environment, adding that persistent rainfall could have negative effect on the floral aspect of the environment due to the effect of erosion and flooding. He further stated that the duty of environmental health officers include waste management, pest and vector control, food hygiene and occupational health and safety, noting that they also engage in house-to-house inspection, health education and promotion.

Sanitarian Akinwumi, however, advised Nigerians to desist from building on waterways, ensure that they practice afforestation, desist from carrying out industrial or agricultural activities on the waterways and stop dumping refuse on the drainage. He further called on the citizenry to take environmental sanitation, environmental hygiene and their personal hygiene as a matter of importance, with a warning that “whatever they give to the environment is what it gives back to them”. In other words, the environment is sensitive to the actions of man, irrespective how little or great that such could be.

Meanwhile, a public affairs analyst, Hon. Ayo Mayami, has charged all stakeholders in agriculture sector to be active and responsible in partnering with government to ensure food security in the country. According to him, all hands must be on deck at finding lasting solution and making agricultural produce available and accessible to all Nigerians, adding that governments at all levels must endeavour to eliminate all encumbrances in the nation’s agriculture sector. He said it was annoying to hear that two-thirds of Nigerians feed below ₦2,000 per day, adding that Nigerians are a set of people that could persevere and endure any situation on ground, while arguing that there are different levels of perseverance.

He reiterated that inflation had been biting hard, noting that the removal of fuel subsidy in May 2023 had contributed to the surge in prices of goods in the market, which made it difficult for an average Nigerian to afford three-square meals. Hon. Mayami, however, urged the government to activate expenditure management and introduce sustainable monetary and fiscal policy, in order to reverse the high level of inflation in the country. In addition, the relevance of agriculture to the overall national development can never be over-rated. Therefore, all stakeholders in the federal, state, non-governmental actors, and development partners should ensure that there is active collaboration in the needed areas to ensure that a safe and healthy environment that would promote food sufficiency is engendered in the nation.