World Food Day : Safe Food Now, For a Healthy Tomorrow

by Olalekan Abdulsalami on 16 Oct 2021 • 0 comments
4 min read


World Food Day is an international day celebrated worldwide on 16 October to commemorate the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. The day is also celebrated extensively by many other organizations engaged with hunger and food security, including the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. In 2020, the World Food Program received the Nobel Prize in Peace for their efforts to combat hunger, their contributions to peace in conflict areas, and their leading role in stopping hunger used in the form of weapons during war and conflict.

In the decade after independence from Britain in 1960, agriculture was the main sustainer of the local economy. Farmers grew ample food to meet local demand and export a surplus of cash crops, including groundnuts, palm oil, and cotton, until the discovery of crude oil in 1956. The agricultural sector accounted for more than 60% of the gross domestic product, and the Nigerian economy was reaping the dividends of strategic farming. Since 1981, World Food Day has adopted different themes to highlight areas needed for action and emphasize a common focus. Most of the themes revolve around agriculture because only serious investments in agriculture, education, and healthcare can turn the situation around. The bulk of those investments will have to come from the private sector and inputs from agri-tech companies like crop2cash. Public investment plays a crucial role, primarily because of its facilitating and stimulating effect on private investment. Every year, as we celebrate World Food Day to appreciate the excellent food we eat, we also tackle the issues of world hunger and the lack of access to a healthy meal which contributes to debilitating health conditions like malnutrition and polio in Nigeria. The theme for the 2021 worldwide celebration is ‘Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow.’ This year the emphasis is on celebrating food heroes like our smallholder farmers or individuals who have contributed to building a sustainable world where no one has to go hungry. The idea is to contribute to the idea of creating a hunger-free world.

About 80% of farmers in Nigeria are smallholder farmers. They own small plots of land to grow subsistence crops and one or two cash crops, counting almost exclusively on family labour. Agriculture is an essential contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and smallholder farmers play a dominant role in this contribution. The small-scale farmer depends on their efficiency in the utilization of essential production resources available to them. They make a significant and vital contribution to the national product, which is about 99%of total crop output.

The smallholder farmer is the leading producer of 98% of the food consumed in Nigeria, except for wheat. Over the years, Nigerian governments and some foreign bodies have made deliberate efforts to improve agricultural production, but these efforts have not brought any positive results. Most of the issues can be attributed to different constraints against smallholder farming in Nigeria, including economic, political, and financial conditions. This failure can also be attributed to the adapted transformation approach to agriculture, characterized by introducing a wide variety of large-scale farming and processing technologies. The emphasis has now moved from the big scale transformation approach to a small scale improvement approach, attuning to Nigeria’s age-long farming practices.

Crop2Cash believes digital agriculture is the route out of poverty for farmers and the key to ending food insecurity. We are building a product that will allow farmers in rural Nigeria to receive digital payments and create their financial identity. This platform will help smallholder farmers access finance to increase their agricultural production and access farm inputs like agrochemicals on credit while paying back “small-small.” We are also digitizing the value chain of food crops by building a platform that eases supply chain management. We have taken extra measures to secure your data in the cloud. To understand why digital agriculture seems to be making headway, it is essential to look at recent changes in the agriculture sector in Nigeria. Alongside a combination of a weak economy and a decline in oil prices, a sliding currency forced Nigerian authorities to look to agriculture for rescue as the country slipped into recession in August 2016. Generally, farmers’ access to credit and inputs has been growing in Nigeria, thanks to a few initiatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria. These initiatives link farmers to large-scale processors and facilitate access to credit by de-risking agricultural financing from banks. However, expanding digital solutions to smallholder farmers in Nigeria is constrained by illiteracy, cultural barriers, and geography. The theme for the Nigerian celebration was disclosed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the opening of the National Agricultural Show/Exhibition in Abuja. The theme of the 2021 edition of the Agricultural Show is: “Our Actions are our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”. This theme was straight to the point because the country is a major producer of various agricultural products like palm oil, cocoa beans, pineapple, and sorghum. It is one of the largest sorghum producers globally, just after the United States and ranks fifth in palm oil and cocoa beans production. Nigeria is also a significant global exporter in this sector. Oil, fruits, nuts, seeds are among the ten best performing export categories

 







REFERENCE

 Agriculture in Nigeria - statistics and facts[Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/topics/6729/agriculture-in-nigeria/ ]

World Food Day [Retrieved from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Food_Day]



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