A Professor of Production Economics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Professor Taiwo Amos, says there is a looming food crisis in Nigeria, and to prevent it, the Federal Government must, as a matter of urgency, design a programme of sustainable and corruption-free subsidy for farmers.
He also said that government must encourage youth participation in agriculture, fund research institutes and implement strategic sustainable policies, projects and programmes.
These were part of his recommendations while delivering FUTA’s 95th inaugural lecture, entitled ‘Agricultural Production and Productivity: The Game Changing Food Security Paradigm in Nigeria’.
Such subsidies to farmers, he said, must be tracked and sustained to ensure that they directed to enhance output and get to practising farmers, thus eliminating all forms of sharp practices.
Professor Amos noted that poor funding contributes in no small measure to the abysmal performance of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
Government, he said, should also create a nexus that would lead to the application and commercialisation of research findings for the development of agriculture for national development.
The inaugural lecturer who is also the dean of FUTA’s School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, also stressed the encouragement of youth participation in agriculture as vital for realising increasing growth in agricultural productivity and food security goals.
According to him, majority of the current farmers would be too old for farming in the next two decades, so government through experts should come up with incentive packages that would make youths return to farming as a profession that is sustainable.
He said the grooming of a successor generation of farmers, who would take agriculture as business and profitable profession has become imperative. Withoutsuch succession plan, he said, the Nigeria’s food production index would continue to decline.
Making a comparative analysis between Nigeria and the emerging economies of the BRICS nations (Britain, Russia, India, China, South Africa,) Professor Amos noted that these nations witnessed the transformation from a traditional system of production characterised by poor adoption of contemporary technologies to becoming global agricultural leaders as a result of investment in science and technology, implementation of public policies and continuous increase in annual agricultural yield.
Nigeria, he stressed, should follow their template.He emphasised that since maize had become an international cereal like rice and wheat, Nigeria should redouble its efforts to produce it in all the agro-ecological zones of the country, and in fact, should intensify research and developmental initiatives to become the world’s leading producer of the product.