A blueprint for agricultural development in Nigeria
Food is central to man’s development and its production at sustainable level must therefore be the pre-‐ occupation of Governments in all nations. In Nigeria, several attempts have been made to address food and nutrition insecurity through such programmes like the National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP), Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Green Revolution and the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) among others. The authors observed that in spite of the enormous prospects for agricultural development and food security in Nigeria, these intervention programmes have recorded little or no success considering the current rate of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and poor rural livelihood. With vast land area of about 98.3 million ha out of which 74 million ha is good for farming, Nigeria has very great potential for producing optimally in all aspects of agriculture including Crops, Livestock, forestry, Fisheries and wildlife. Yet in Nigeria today, there is pending food crisis tending towards famine, threat of hunger and poverty with a large proportion of the populace (70%) living on less than US1.00 a day, high youth unemployment as university graduates leave the system and find no work, rice and other food commodities are imported and the food production system is still largely peasantry with over 60% of the farmers working on small tracts of farmland (0.2 – 1 ha) in an inefficient manner. The question therefore is whether we still have hope for future agricultural production that will address and solve these issues. Measures suggested by the authors as sustainable solution include among others the effective utilisation of research findings which are locked up in many institutions, transformation and utilisation of agricultural education and extension services, increased budgetary allocation to agriculture, improved livestock and agricultural production strategies, provision of incentives to farmers, provision of Storage, Processing and irrigation technology, farmers accessibility to inputs and Micro Credit Schemes, establishment or reorganisation of Agricultural Trust Fund as well as the exposure of farmers to both local and foreign markets.