A doctoral degree holder in Animal Breeding and Genetics from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Olaiwola Ogunpaimo, has called on the government to collaborate with specialised tertiary institutions, make use of research and technology to tackle food challenges in the country.
Speaking on the declaration of a state of emergency by the Nigerian president on food security, food pricing, and sustainability a few days ago, Ogunpaimo who is now based in Europe advised the government to include training, research, and the use of technology as part of the strategies if the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu wished to achieve the best results within a short period.
“Nonetheless, the proposed intervention strategies, if well-coordinated and properly monitored will provide great opportunities for all people in their various age brackets, through continued access to sufficient, safe, and balanced diets that meet the dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle.
“Without mincing words, the government should include training, research, and the use of technology as part of the strategies if the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu intends to achieve the best results within a short period. In this regard, I think it is expedient to involve specialised tertiary institutions in this intervention program to assist in research, data management, training, and use of technology among others.
“Finally, I use this opportunity to urge the president to subject some of the proposed objectives to further consultation to accommodate all the necessary concerns required to achieve the stated objectives.”
He stressed that while some of the strategies remained challenging to implement, it was important for the government to be mindful of the fact that some parts of that proposal needed further consultation before implementation.
Ogunpaimo said, “Take for instance, paragraph 6(B), which states that “the government will also collaborate with mechanisation companies to clear more forest and make them available for farming”. With the highest regard to wildlife management and forest practices, this may jeopardise the good intentions of the government because of the criticisms that may emanate from its benefit being misconstrued. There is presently more than 70 million hectares of land in Nigeria and with the initial 500, 000 hectares of land that the government is aiming at, there may be no need to initially mechanise forest but rather engage in planting arable crops.”