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Strategies for increasing food production and food security in Nigeria

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Fasoyiro,S.B.andK.A.Taiwo(2012).
Strategiesforincreasingfood
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Nigeria.JournalofFoodand
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Strategies for Increasing Food Production
and Food Security in Nigeria
S. B. Fasoyiro a & K. A. Taiwo b
a Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan, Nigeria
b Department of Food Technology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-
Ife, Nigeria
Version of record first published: 10 Oct 2012.
To cite this article: S. B. Fasoyiro & K. A. Taiwo (2012): Strategies for Increasing Food Production and
Food Security in Nigeria, Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 13:4, 338-355
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Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 13:338–355, 2012
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DOI: 10.1080/10496505.2012.715063
Strategies for Increasing Food Production
and Food Security in Nigeria
S. B. FASOYIRO1and K. A. TAIWO2
1Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan, Nigeria
2Department of Food Technology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Reduction in food production, food insecurity, and youth unem-
ployment have characterized the present day status of the Nigerian
economy. These problems have been associated with an increase in
population without a corresponding increase in agricultural pro-
ductivity and favorable policies. This article discusses methods to
promote increased food production, poverty alleviation, and food
security in Nigeria. It highlights the importance of agriculture to
food security and the need to empower smallholder farmers, es-
pecially women and youth. The need for holistic agricultural re-
search, encompassing various stakeholders in the government and
non-governmental sectors of the agricultural value chain, is also
emphasized.
KEYTERMS agricultural value chain, food accessibility, food
availability, food production, food security, food utilization,
Nigeria
INTRODUCTION
Poverty is a major problem in many developing countries in the world, in-
cluding Nigeria. It has been described as a vicious cycle, causing hunger and
malnutrition, and is aggravated by rapid population growth. Poverty is also
a gender issue, affecting mostly households headed by women. The causes
of poverty have been linked to food insecurity, adverse development of in-
ternational schemes, world economic recession, foreign debt burden, and a
series of economic reforms (Okuneye, 2001). Nigeria is currently facing a
Received 2 January 2012; accepted 17 February 2012.
Address correspondence to Dr. S. B. Fasoyiro, Institute of Agricultural Research and
Training, PMB 5029, Moor-Plantation, Ibadan, Nigeria. E-mail: fimidara@yahoo.com
338
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Increasing Food Production and Security in Nigeria 339
food crisis, with the population—especially the poor—having limited access
to adequate quantity and quality of food. Food security reflects stability of
the food supply and availability of and access to food. These, in turn, influ-
ence the amount of food consumed and have implications for the health of
consumers (Akinyele, 2010). Food insecurity can be addressed by sustain-
able agriculture, which has been described as an agricultural system adapted
to a particular area so that crop and animal products do not decline over
time and are reasonably stable over normal fluctuations of weather (Troeh
& Donahue, 2003). Food production declined between 1970 and 1998, due
to the oil boom era when many workers abandoned farm work (Central
Bank of Nigeria [CBN], 2000). This led to food importation and rural urban
migration (Ogunsumi, 2007).
Meaningful development of the Nigerian economy cannot be achieved
outside of agriculture. Sustainable agriculture has the benefits of satisfying
human needs for food, protecting natural resources, and ensuring environ-
mental quality (Edeoghon, Ajayi, & Ugboya, 2008). Agriculture is the main-
stay of the West African economy and, even in Nigeria, where crude oil
accounts for over 90% of the government’s earnings, over 70% of the popu-
lation derive their livelihood from agriculture.
FOOD PRODUCTION AND SMALLHOLDER FARMERS
In the past, agriculture has been the major backbone of the economy in
providing raw materials, food, and employment for over 75% of the popu-
lation. Agriculture is critical to world food security, poverty alleviation, and
conservation of natural resources. Farmers are critical to crop production and
farm enterprises. They perform various functions such as clearing, planting,
weeding, staking, fertilizer application, harvesting, processing, storage, and
marketing (Ibeawuchi, 2007). Throughout the world, farmers have been clas-
sified as small-, medium-, and large-scale; however, in Nigeria, small-scale
farming is dominated by peasant farmers living in rural areas, with farm
holdings of one to two hectares. It is reported that they constitute about
70% of the rural areas sustaining Nigerian agriculture (Fawole & Oladele,
2007). Over 12 million farmers are scattered in different ecological zones
and engaged in the production of a wide variety of arable crops under tra-
ditional subsistence farming (Oluwatayo, Sekumade, & Adesoji, 2008); 90%
of Nigerian total production comes from small farms.
Increasing farmers’ productivity and income will require the develop-
ment of appropriate technology through research and the transfer of research
output through efficient extension systems (Abalu, 1988). Promoting produc-
tivity among small-scale farmers is therefore essential for national growth
and food security in Nigeria. Peasant farmers should be encouraged to en-
gage in Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) based on integration of livestock
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340 S. B. Fasoyiro and K. A. Taiwo
production into cropping systems. Through proper management practices,
IFS increases soil fertility; minimizes insect and disease problems, energy
requirements, and risks due to climatic fluctuation; and protects the environ-
ment through erosion control (Tirado, 2009).
INCREASING POPULATION AND DECREASING
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY
Currently, population growth has outstripped agricultural productivity
(Okuneye, 2001). Thus, the country is facing food insecurity. Before the oil
boom—i.e., before the 1970s—Nigeria was a major producer of a number of
food crops, such as cassava and beans, and cash crops, such as cocoa and
palm oil. Food crops like roots, tubers, and vegetables are cultivated predom-
inantly in the rainforest zone of the south, while grains and cereals are culti-
vated in the savannah zone of the north (Ogunsumi, 2007). Traditional crops
in the southern region include root and tuber crops such as cassava, yam,
cocoyam, and sweet potatoes. Cereals such as maize, sorghum, millet, and
rice are commonly grown in the north. Oil seeds such as oil palm, ground-
nut, sheabutter, sunflower seed, copra, and sesame and fruits—including
plantain, banana, mango, and orange—are grown in the southern region.
Vegetables such as aubergine, tomatoes, okra, onion, and chilli pepper are
also common in northern Nigeria. Grain legumes—including various types
of beans: soya bean, pigeon pea, lima bean, and peanuts—are grown in
different parts of the country. Meat and fish from both marine and fresh-
water are also produced. Nigeria accounted for 60% of the 51.4 million
tons of cereals produced in West Africa in 2006 (Ismaila, Gana, Tswanya, &
Dogara, 2010). Regrettably, it is estimated that about 50% of perishable food
commodities—including fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers—and about 30%
of grains—including maize, sorghum, millet, rice, and cowpea—are lost after
harvest in West Africa (Aworh & Egounlety, 2001). Inefficient or inappropri-
ate food processing technologies; inefficient postharvest handling practices;
and inadequate or complete lack of storage facilities, packing houses, and
market infrastructures are some of the factors responsible for high posthar-
vest food losses in West Africa (Adeyemi, Taiwo, Akanbi, & Sanni, 2010).
Cash crops have been sources of foreign exchange income for Nigeria, con-
tributing to the Gross Domestic Product.
Today, Nigeria is more of a consumer nation than a producer nation,
and this has contributed immensely to food insecurity and poverty in the
country. The inability of Nigerian agriculturists to provide food in sufficient
quantity and quality to feed the increasing population has resulted in food
shortages, undernourishment, malnutrition, starvation, hunger, and ill-health.
The current population of Nigeria has been estimated at 167 million (Ngozi,
2011). The rate of increase in the number of hungry people in the world
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Increasing Food Production and Security in Nigeria 341
in the 1980s was several times what it was in the 1970s. By 1989, the total
number of chronically hungry people in the world was estimated to be 550
million people and the figure was 1 billion people by 2002. Between 1991
and 1998, the number of food insecure people declined by 76 million in
China and increased by 40 million in all other developing countries (Inter-
national Food Policy Research Institute, 2002; Ojo, 2009). The prevalence
of undernourished people in Nigeria, as of 2008, was 6%, which is about
9.4 million people (FAO, 2011). Population growth in developing coun-
tries increases food demand at a rate of 3–5% per year (Maisonet-Guzman,
2011). This must be considered in sustainable agricultural practices. Popula-
tion growth leads to intensive land cultivation and use of available natural
resources, resulting in water and land degradation. These factors are also
implicated in malnutrition, poverty, and a lower standard of living.
PAST GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO INCREASE FOOD SECURITY
Various governments in Nigeria have attempted to improve agricultural pro-
duction through programs such as the Agricultural Development Project
(1974), Operation Feed the Nation (1976), the Green Revolution (1976),
and Fadama I, II, III, etc. The programs were set with the main goals of
reducing food insecurity and alleviating poverty. However, some of these
programs failed due to poor administration and lack of continuity in policy
implementation, inadequate manpower to provide effective leadership, poor
funding, and ineffective planning (Akinyele, 2010; Longe, 2005). In spite
of Nigeria’s oil wealth—being rated as number six among the petroleum
producing countries (OPEC)—it is sad to note that Nigeria is still among
the 18 poorest countries in the world. National data indicates that the num-
ber of poor people increased from 18 million to almost 68 million between
1980 and 1986. The government’s inconsistent import policies, unrealistic
exchange rate, industrial policy on raw materials importation, rising fiscal
and trade imbalances, and mounting international debt all affect the growth
of the economy (Central Bank of Nigeria, 2000).
TERMS IN FOOD SECURITY
Food insecurity is lack of access to a nutritionally adequate diet in a house-
hold or country. Food security is defined as physical, social, and economical
access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet dietary needs and food
preferences for an active and healthy life. Household food security exists
when household members have access to the food needed for a healthy
life. A region is food secure when a majority of the people in the geo-
political area have access to food of adequate quantity and quality at all
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342 S. B. Fasoyiro and K. A. Taiwo
times, while a locality is food secure when a majority of the people in the
locality have access to food of adequate quantity and quality at all times
(Babatunde & Oyatoye, 2005). National food security implies that a country,
with the amount of food available, if evenly distributed, has enough to meet
the people’s food needs. Sustainable food security means enough food for
everyone at present, plus the ability to provide enough for the future (FAO,
2006; Kolawole, Agbetoye, & Ogunlowo, 2010).
For food security to be ensured at these different levels—whether for an
individual household, region, or nation—three important factors have to be
in place: food availability, food accessibility, and food utilization. “Food avail-
ability” concerns the physical presence of food, which depends on domestic
food production and food importation. The problem of dwindling food avail-
ability has been aggravated because total food production has been constant
over the years with a growing socioeconomic challenge. The value of food
imports increased by 53% from N=3.2991 trillion (Naira) in 2008 to N=5.0479
trillion in 2009. Nigeria’s import table also shows that 90% of goods imported
are for consumption and not for production purposes (Omoh, 2011). Avail-
ability is also a function of stock holding and food marketing, apart from
food production (Von Braun, Bouis, Kumaris, & Pandya-Lorch, 1992).
It is not enough for food to be available; it must be accessible to the
consumer—i.e., affordable. It is one thing for food to be physically present;
it is another for it to be accessible, which is dependent on the purchas-
ing power of the people. “Food accessibility” is not physically or socially
constrained, but economically. Food processing and associated activities,
in particular, are important factors in the promotion of food access and
the production of safe and nutritious foods. Improvement in food acces-
sibility, through increased income resulting from the commercialization of
indigenous foods, should be encouraged. Improvement of indigenous tech-
nologies and the nutritional value and safety of local foods should also be
encouraged. Although the bulk of food consumed in many African countries
is converted into edible forms, using indigenous food technologies (Aworh,
1994); unfortunately, the role of these technologies in the attainment of food
security has not been fully addressed by the many paradigms characterizing
agricultural development in Africa. As a result, the underlying technologies
have not received much attention from the scientific community.
“Food utilization” reflects the quantity and quality of dietary intake and
the nutritional and health status of the people. Nutritional status is a measure
of the health condition of an individual as affected primarily by the intake
of food and utilization of nutrients. The basic minimum requirement figure
has been 65 g of protein and 2,500 kcal of energy, which has not been
achieved by most people (FAO/WHO/UNU, 1985; Opata & Nweze, 2009).
Food utilization has been affected by high inflation, low purchasing power,
unequal distribution of the food supply, and income (Okolo, 2004). Good
nutritional status can only be realized and sustained when individuals within
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Increasing Food Production and Security in Nigeria 343
families and communities are food-secure. Better nutrition means stronger
immune systems, less illness, and better health. Better nutrition is a prime
entry point to ending poverty and a milestone in achieving better quality
of life. The vulnerable and food insecure include the poor, smallholder
farmers, children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, and the elderly. Low
nutritional status has been implicated in prevalent deficiency diseases such
as iron deficiency, protein malnutrition, and vitamin A deficiency (Potter &
Hotchkiss, 1998).
Processing greatly increases the value of perishable foodstuffs by making
them available for a longer period of time and over a wider area. In addition,
postharvest activities improve the palatability of food products, as well as
provide semi-processed agricultural products which serve as raw materials
for a number of small- or medium-scale industries in Africa (International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture, 1990). The development of small-scale food-
product-processing industries reduces imports, provides employment, and is
an impetus to the development of other types of agro-industry (Vlavonou,
1989).
FACTORS AFFECTING AVAILABILITY, ACCESSIBILITY,
AND UTILIZATION OF FOOD IN NIGERIA
A number of factors have been reported to cause food insecurity in Nigeria.
These include poor infrastructural facilities, inadequate farm input, lack of
working capital, inappropriate equipment, labor intensive traditional/manual
processes, shortage of manpower/skill development, and postharvest losses
(Ukeje, 2003). Postharvest losses may be attributed to the following: (a) lack
of appropriate technologies for processing, packaging, and storage; (b) low
rate of technology adoption; (c) poor linkages between research and the
food industries; (d) lack of information on marketing channels for farmers
and processors; and (e) lack of infrastructures.
Lack of Appropriate Technologies for Processing, Packaging,
and Storage
Too much of the world’s food harvest is lost to spoilage and infestation on
its journey to the consumer. Losses occur in all operations, from harvest-
ing through handling, storage, processing, and marketing. Proper evaluation
of postharvest technologies should consider the entire postharvest chain,
using loss assessment as a tool for understanding when, where, and why
losses occur. Appropriate technologies are particularly needed for process-
ing food in rural areas of developing countries (Aworh, 2008). Traditional
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344 S. B. Fasoyiro and K. A. Taiwo
technologies can sometimes be upgraded to enhance the shelf life and con-
sumer acceptance of indigenous foods, as well as in developing value-added
products with export potential. Application of simple techniques for harvest-
ing, postharvest treatment, grading, sorting, and presentation of many fruits
and vegetables, at village and community levels, has proven profitable for
small-scale growers in numerous countries.
Low Rate of Technology Adoption
A technology may be tested technically in a research laboratory and proven
effective, but it may not be acceptable to the end-users (Taiwo & Faborode,
2003). Development of expensive and sophisticated technologies always
leads to low adoption by rural farmers. Participatory approaches involving
farmers in the decision-making process ensure better adoption of technolo-
gies (Lawal & Oluyole, 2008). Technologies should be simple-to-practice,
affordable, easily replicated and, if possible, designed from locally available
materials. Stakeholders’ participation is critical, not only in achieving focus
but also for public acceptance and adoption of developed technologies.
Factors affecting adoption of new practices include financial advantages of
adoption, complexity of the new practice, compatibility with existing prac-
tices, ease of trying new practices, and degree to which outputs can be easily
seen and measured (Barr & Cary, 2000).
Poor Linkages Between Research and the Food Industries
Alliances between research organizations and food industries will result in
greater synergies, bringing about better utilization of research findings. The
formation of partnerships will help establish a sustainable and commercially
successful food production chain and facilitate efficient knowledge trans-
fer for practical application, product development, and economic growth.
Public-private partnerships between research institutions, universities, and
food industries will also help solve some of the problems associated with
poor funding, often faced by research bodies (Binenbaum, Pardey, & Wright,
2001).
Lack of Information on Marketing Channels for Farmers
and Processors
A market channel describes the movement of a product or commodity from
the site of production to the place of consumption. It may include trans-
portation, handling, storage, ownership transfer, processing, and distribution.
Principal players in marketing channels are the entrepreneurs (Pinkerton,
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Increasing Food Production and Security in Nigeria 345
Harwell, Drinkwater, & Escobar, 2000). Processing and effective marketing
of food items offer veritable avenues of job creation. Farmers and processors,
as primary producers, need to rightly link with market information and key
players in marketing channels for proper market flow and income earning.
An effective and well-coordinated marketing system affects food production
and household food security.
Lack of Infrastructures
Development of infrastructures in rural areas is parallel to agricultural de-
velopment. Such facilities as good feeder roads will enhance evacuation of
output and transportation of inputs to the rural areas. In particular, on-farm
storage facilities are appropriate for specific agricultural enterprises. Such
storage structures should be designed and commercialized for use in rural
areas (Okuneye, 2001).
WOMEN AND AGRICULTURE
Homestead food production enables the planting of a wide range of fruits
and vegetables, often integrated with animal husbandry, promoting increased
nutritional diversity and improved diet quality within households. Most food
consumption surveys either underestimate or ignore indigenous and wild
foods that are consumed (Mmom, 2009). Traditionally, women have been
the custodian of most primary on-farm processing operations and posthar-
vest activities (Vlavonou, 1989). In many countries, they also form the ma-
jority of micro-entrepreneurs (Morse & Ellis-Jones, 1994). In different sub-
sections of agriculture—such as crop production, livestock, fisheries, and
agroforestry—women play key roles in planting, weeding, and harvesting,
especially in subsistence production, contributing about 60–80% of the total
labor (Ajani, 2008).
Women are also involved in processing and marketing. Irrespective of
their contribution to food production, processing, storage, transportation,
marketing and distribution, women have been found to be more food in-
secure than their male counterparts. Female-headed households have been
reported to have food insecurity levels of 0.49 and male-headed 0.39 (Ajani,
2008). Some of the factors contributing to female food insecurity and lower
agricultural productivity include a low level of literacy, lack of ownership
and control of assets, low resources, lack of sufficient and substantive collat-
eral, inadequate knowledge and training on improved technologies, multiple
roles as homemaker and income earner, poor access to transport systems in
rural areas, etc. (Fasoyiro, Obatolu, Ashaye, & Lawal, 2010). Women are also
subject to several gender-based vulnerabilities—including fewer benefits un-
der customary or statutory legal systems than men, lack of decision-making
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346 S. B. Fasoyiro and K. A. Taiwo
authority, greater time burdens, and threats of acts of physical violence. In
many countries, women who grow the food that sustains the majority of
the population are not even recognized as farmers. They have no legal right
to own land. And women are routinely shut out of government agricultural
programs. They lose out on access to credit, seeds, tools, and training. Ru-
ral women are involved in indigenous processing methods, which are often
laborious and time consuming, and play a significant role in postharvest
technologies in critical areas such as food storage, processing, preparation,
preservation, and packaging. Indigenous technologies provide the founda-
tion for socioeconomic progress. Traditional technologies need upgrading for
wider application and broad-based benefit to the population. Indeed, many
modern technologies are either difficult to acquire for economic reasons
or unsuitable to the sociocultural African context. Food storage, processing,
preservation, and packaging are good examples of areas in which technolog-
ical development has generally been overlooked by policymakers. Problems
associated with indigenous technologies include access to remote markets;
risks arising from the indiscriminate adjustment of indigenous technologies
that have evolved because of their inherent safety; and difficulty in imme-
diately implementing Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
in small-scale enterprises, if international marketing is targeted. All of this
means that policies aiming to resolve the food crisis need to also uphold
women’s rights (Susskind, 2008). Access of women to land and other assets
such as credit facilities will alleviate poverty through improvement of their
productive capabilities.
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE AGRICULTURAL
VALUE CHAIN
Worldwide, youth unemployment has been estimated as almost three times
higher than the adult unemployment rate (International Labour Organiza-
tion, 2008). Youth stand as the future strength of any nation. One of the
factors responsible for increasing youth unemployment is increased popula-
tion growth. Youth engagement in agricultural activities will reduce the youth
unemployment rate in Nigeria. Nigerian agriculture will be professionalized
through promotion of educational and professional training to encourage
young people to embrace agricultural activities (Okuneye, 2001). The prac-
tice of urban agriculture, such as backyard farming (Ojo, 2009; Opata &
Nweze, 2009), among youth will make them self-reliant.
“Value chain” refers to a full range of activities that are required to
bring a product or service from conception through the different phases of
delivery to the final consumer and disposal after use (Kaplinsky & Morris,
2001). A value chain exists when the actors in the chain operate in a way
that maximizes the generation of value to products and services along the
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Increasing Food Production and Security in Nigeria 347
chain. The chain involves a network of upstream linkages or sources of
supply (farmers and producers) and downstream linkages (distribution and
the ultimate customers). The chain is a collaborative system of obtaining
value-added products and services. The distribution link—especially as re-
tailers, traders, and exporters—will empower youth for income-generation
and self-employment. The agricultural value chain will play a key role in
reducing the unemployment rate among youth by empowering them as key
players in various activities such as production, processing, storage, dis-
tribution, and marketing of agricultural produce and products. The value
chain will provide an integral approach to poverty alleviation and sustain-
able livelihood. It encompasses the flow of produce and product through
entrepreneurs such as farmers, processors, traders, distributors, etc., who are
all engaged in various forms of business, whether for the domestic or export
market. The small-scale food industries in which youth can be engaged for
income generation include root and tuber processing, especially cassava and
yam processing; cereal and legume processing; baking; fruit and vegetable
processing; brewing and beverage production; flour milling; vegetable oil
milling; cheese-making; fish and meat smoking and drying; and production
of condiments. Urban-rural migration among the youth will be reduced when
they have the necessary support systems, such as training and starting cap-
ital, in their various localities. Issues of proper governance, upgrading, and
distribution (both upstream and downstream) need to be addressed in order
for the system to work effectively.
Rural development and agro-industrialization are closely linked with
the promotion of small-scale food industries, which involve lower capital
investment and reliance on locally produced raw materials and traditional
technology (Aworh, 1994). Small-scale food industries generate income, thus
reducing rural-urban migration and the associated social problems. They are
vital to solving the problem of imbalance between the rural and urban ar-
eas and are crucial to reducing postharvest food losses and increasing food
availability. However, rapid growth and development of small-scale food in-
dustries has been hampered by the adoption of inefficient or inappropriate
technologies, poor management, inadequate working capital, limited access
to banks and other financial institutions, high interest rates, and low profit
margins (Aworh, 2005). In addition, small-scale food industries rely on lo-
cally fabricated equipment, and non-standardization of equipment and lack
of spare parts for equipment maintenance and repair are major problems
constraining their growth (Taiwo, Oladepo, Ilori, & Akanbi, 2002).
RESEARCH AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Research can be defined as the search for knowledge or any systematic
investigation to establish novel facts and solve new or existing problems.
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348 S. B. Fasoyiro and K. A. Taiwo
Put simply, it is asking questions, answering questions, and proffering so-
lutions. Research is usually conducted by professionals who are experts or
subject-matter specialists to answer questions that contribute to national de-
velopment in their various endeavors. In order to ensure food security in
Nigeria, the researchers must continue to answer the following questions
based on the three pillars of food security:
How can food be more available?
How can food be more accessible?
How can food be better utilized?
Nigeria is a country with over 100 universities, more than 15 food-related
research institutions, and many civil societies (such as non-government and
community-based organizations) involved in agricultural research concern-
ing various food and cash crops in Nigeria. Agricultural technologies de-
veloped and disseminated to farmers should meet changing sociocultural,
economic and environmental situations. Since peasant farmers dominate the
Nigerian agricultural sector, technologies should be cost-effective and flex-
ible for greater adoption and adaptation (Ogunsumi, 2011). International
bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO) have assisted developing countries in the generation and transfer of
science-based technologies, with the aim of supporting small-scale farmers
and entrepreneurs in rural communities. The focus of assistance is on the
men and women who produce most of the food in developing countries.
THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN INCREASING
FOOD SECURITY
Research is intended for growth and development. Agricultural research,
when appropriately focused, creates an impetus for solving farmers’ prob-
lems and generating outputs that will bring about increased productivity.
Researchers should use a participatory, bottom-to-top approach in address-
ing farmers and processors’ problems (e.g., postharvest losses) and conduct
holistic research using a multi-disciplinary approach to address agricultural
value-chain issues. Research should be targeted toward national agricul-
tural priorities and global food issues. Promotion of appropriate technolo-
gies through extension services and training should be emphasized—i.e.,
technologies must be taken from the laboratory to the field. Appropriate and
improved technologies for home preservation and drying of vegetables and
fruits will reduce wastage and ensure better utilization of fresh produce dur-
ing the harvest season and the development of improved storage facilities
will reduce postharvest losses.
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Increasing Food Production and Security in Nigeria 349
Development of low-cost, adoptable technologies that encourage small-
scale enterprises and entrepreneurship in rural areas should be a primary
focus. Increased food processing through the establishment and strength-
ening of small-scale agro-industries can contribute to the year-round avail-
ability and variety of micronutrient-rich foods in rural and urban markets.
Agro-processing industries will not only even-out seasonal price fluctuations,
but also create jobs and income from such activities as processing, storage,
distribution, and marketing. Agro-processing will also stimulate demand for
farmers’ crops and products and give consumers additional choices. Food
and dietary diversification at the household and community level should be
promoted (Taiwo, 2010). A range of food-based activities that can max-
imize the availability of a variety of nutritious foods should be encour-
aged. These activities include promotion of fishery and forestry products
for household consumption and improved preservation and storage of fruits
and vegetables to reduce waste, postharvest losses, and effects of seasonal-
ity. Research studies in urban agriculture production and processing should
be encouraged to strengthen small-scale agro-processing and food industries
and income-generating activities. Nutrition education on consumption of a
healthy and nutritious diet year-round, promotion of mixed-cropping and
integrated farming systems, introduction of crops such as underexploited
traditional foods and home gardens, and small livestock-raising should also
be included. Nutrition education and training should be given to men and
women and introduced into the curricula of teacher-training colleges, pri-
mary and secondary schools, and agricultural schools. Nutrition information
and education are needed so that people can make informed choices about
the foods they grow, purchase, and eat. The use of mass media, such as ra-
dio and television, is increasingly important for informing and educating the
public on nutrition and healthy lifestyles (Taiwo, 2010). Research favoring
public-private collaboration, such as linking research with food industries,
must become a priority. Appropriate low-cost, user-friendly tools and equip-
ment, especially for women, should be designed. Technologies are the key
to increasing the productivity of micro-enterprises, while generating broad-
based sustainable economic growth. The upgrading of technologies through
research will allow more of the value added during the processing of raw
commodities to be captured in rural areas. Micro-enterprises can be strength-
ened through technological changes to become more self-reliant and thus
less vulnerable in their links with supplies and markets (Taiwo & Faborode,
2003). Value addition to local staples and underutilized crops should be
promoted to reduce importation. Home-based, traditional methods of pro-
cessing impose a heavy burden on the family labor supply, especially the
women. Therefore, promotion of gender-sensitive agricultural research and
programs that empower women should be encouraged. Appropriateness of
the technology is very crucial for adoption by women. Some technologi-
cal solutions (tools and methods) are indeed available and appropriate but
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350 S. B. Fasoyiro and K. A. Taiwo
have not been widely applied, especially at the level of small-scale women
processors (Taiwo & Faborode, 2003). Local processors should be assisted
in meeting minimum ISO standards to promote food safety and facilitate
international export. Research professionals should be involved in advocacy
for policies that will promote food security through evidence-based research
findings. Good agricultural policies should be encouraged for continuity
and sustainability. Capacity-building through training of unemployed youth,
women, and men in the use of appropriate technologies for food processing,
packaging, and marketing for self-reliance (i.e., entrepreneurship) should be
promoted.
NEW RESEARCH AREAS TO IMPROVE AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCTIVITY
Biotechnology has been useful in increasing crop productivity through de-
velopment of disease-resistant and drought-tolerant crop varieties and in
improving food processing through development of desirable qualities such
as improved nutrition and flavor (Wieczorek, 2003). Biotechnology should
be targeted at developing technologies that specifically meet farmers’ re-
gional needs. Nigeria has a biotechnology research center and a national
agency on biotechnology.
Nanotechnologies are being applied to agriculture in such areas as wa-
ter treatment, energy storage, food processing and storage, vector and pest
detection and control, agricultural productivity enhancement, and improved
environmental management. Nanotechnology has the potential to improve
food quality and safety, food processing, and nutrition and to reduce agri-
cultural inputs. It will significantly impact the rural population in developing
countries (Gru`
ere, Narrod, & Abbott, 2011).
In developing countries, extension agents usually disseminate informa-
tion and technologies to farmers and individuals through field days, radio,
television, technical bulletins, and newsletters. The bulletins, for instance,
contain complete factual information on a wide range of small-scale tech-
nologies, along with associated economic, management, and marketing in-
formation where appropriate. The newsletters keep extension agencies and
individuals informed of technological innovations and provide additional
information on where to get more data (International Resources Group
[IRG], 2005). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is also very
important in information and knowledge transfer in agriculture and natu-
ral resource management. It helps provide up-to-date market information,
weather, and extension information to rural producers and processors. Cell
phones, computers, and satellite linkage help rural farmers and processors
meet changing market demands in developed countries; however, use of
ICT in information dissemination has not gained much ground in Nigeria.
Downloaded by [Subuola Fasoyiro] at 11:52 14 October 2012
Increasing Food Production and Security in Nigeria 351
Nevertheless, ICT will provide a faster means of information dissemination
as compared to other methods currently in use and holds great potential for
improving future agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) assist in linking geographic in-
formation to agriculture for improved decision making (e.g., “precision agri-
culture,” which ensures efficient use of inputs, time, and labor). GIS is also
important in synthesizing spatial information with health, poverty, economic,
and environmental data to permit integrated analyses (IRG, 2005).
CONCLUSION
Understanding the significance of increased food production to food security,
food professionals, through research, must not relent in their efforts to prof-
fer solutions to the challenge of food security in Nigeria. However, favorable
policies and the political will to create an enabling environment are needed
to make research efforts achievable. Food professionals, as leaders of change,
must rise to the task of ensuring poverty alleviation in Nigeria, through the
promotion of research results and entrepreneurship. Achievement of national
food security requires a joint effort, consolidation of effort, continuity, and
the building of a future generation of leaders with a vision and passion for
change. Policies must encourage the training and empowerment of youth
and women in agricultural activities such as crop production, food process-
ing, and entrepreneurship, to alleviate poverty, reduce unemployment, and
increase agricultural production. Policies must also favor environmentally
friendly or not fully developed/novel technologies in agriculture—such as
application of biotechnology, nanotechnology, GIS, and ICT—in improving
agricultural productivity.
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Lawal J. O. and Oluyole K. A. 2008. Factors Influencing Adoption of Research Results and Agricultural Technologies among Cocoa Farming Households in Oyo State, Nigeria. Int. J. Sustain. Crop Prod. 3(5):10-12 Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) is mandated to develop, improve and translate appropriate research results and post-harvest agricultural technologies to farmers (end users) and the general public on Cocoa, Coffee, Kola, Cashew and Tea. This study was conducted at Oyo State of Nigeria during May and June 2007 to determine (1) rate of adoption of technologies developed by CRIN and (2) factors which promote adoption of these technologies. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to obtain information on gender, age, level of education and knowledge on sources of new innovations, adoption and benefits of technologies. Results showed that 73% of the farmers interviewed didn;t adopted the technologies. The 27% adopters who were casual workers on CRIN plantations worked or had a link with technical staff than non-adopters. All adopters were below 60 years and 80 % had at least primary level education. The significant determinants of adoption of research results were age of farmer and visit by CRIN scientists. Access to credit, participatory approaches to research and regular training/ visits on use of technologies were found to be also important for adoption of technologies.
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