Looming food crises: Provide social protection now – Rewane

The federal government should ensure the availability of social protection services such as subsidies and relief options for farmers to enhance farmers’ resilience and reduce the impact of insecurity shocks on them.

He said, conflict among groups across Nigeria has been on the rise as about 77, 000 people have been killed and 2.6 million displaced in the past five years.

The activities of herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram have displaced farming communities, disrupted markets and limited agricultural production as most farmers desert their farmlands and abscond to other regions for safety.

Farmers now have reduced access to regional markets and find it difficult to go to their farms due to fear of being kidnapped or even killed. Some of these unemployed farmers eventually turn to criminal acts in a bid to escape poverty.

Between 2011 and 2021, Boko Haram was responsible for 32.8 thousand deaths in Borno state alone, the country’s largest wheat producing state.1 While Borno’s production used to account for 30 per cent of the national wheat production, it now contributes almost nothing to the total of about 420,000 tonnes, which is 4.5 million tonnes short of national consumption. Consequently, N258.3 billion was spent on wheat importation in the first quarter of the year, up from N98.03 billion in the corresponding quarter in 2020.

According to Bismarck Rewane, Chief Operating Officer (COO), as part of their resilience strategy, farmers should also adopt the use of improved agricultural inputs, mechanized tools and mixed cropping techniques.

“Developing markets and improving farmers’ access to these markets would encourage farmers to cultivate and produce more. Improved infrastructure, transport, logistics, storage and processing equipment would also go a long way to boosting food production, and buffering against insecurity shocks. Lastly, both the federal and state governments should be proactive and adequately fund, train and equip the military, police and other security agencies to effectively combat insecurity in the country”, said Rewane.

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