•Herdsmen attacks affecting food production
•Urges FG to support anti-open grazing law
The Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, has raised alarm over severe food wastages in Nigeria as a result of the increasing cases of post harvest food loses
Ortom while noting that post harvest food loses has been a big challenge in Africa, warned that hunger and food shortage looms if the menace is not tackled soon.
The governor who was represented by the Vice Chancellor, Benue State University, Prof. Msugh Kembe, stated this on Tuesday at the 1st West and Central Africa Post-Harvest Congress (CPC) in Abuja.
He called for increased partnership with the World Bank, development agencies and stakeholders to proffer a lasting solution to the problem.
According to Ortom, “driving along the roads in Nigeria, you find hawkers and lorries abandoned all over with food produce, some oranges, some yams, others rice or cassava that are intended for waiting retailers or consumers.
“The sight in our local markets is even worse. As a farmer, I feel the pain of the loses incurred by farmers and food marketers across the entire nation.”
“All these impede on socio economic status of our people and calls for an all inclusive approach to provide a lasting solution,” he added.
The governor also lamented that the agricultural sector in the country has suffered setbacks due to the security situation of the country.
He stressed that “development in any nation cannot thrive without adequate security”.
He continued: “As we speak, most farmers are displaced due to the farmer herders/bandits crisis that has hit the country with Benue state taking the biggest hit.
“This has caused farmers to abandon their farms unharvested and in some cases the seedlings have completely been destroyed.”
“We need peace if agriculture will be developed and if hunger will he eradicated in our sub-region,” he added.
Speaking further, Ortom called on the federal government to support the state in implementing the Prohibition of Open Grazing and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017.
Also speaking, the CPC Chairman, Prof. Olufemi Peters, noted that the theme of the conference: ‘Upscaling Post Harvest Activities’, seeks to assemble stakeholders from West and central African sub-region to deliberate on post-harvest activities for improved quality and quantity of food.
Peters also noted with concern that Nigerian population will soon exceed it’s food production
He expressed worry that the situation may be unavoidable.
According to him ” we are constrained to increase food production. Aerable land is limited in supply. It is estimated that food increase will require about 200 mm more hectares, where do we get such land?
“The high cost of tapping energy is a constraint. In addition to the receeding shortage in water supply”.
He further disclosed that the post harvest loses has remained a problem in the country due to a deficiency in transportation, storage, processing, distribution among others.