Food insecurity in Nigeria – Smallholder farmers drive food production in Nigeria and more than 80% of farmers in Nigeria are smallholder farmers. They are responsible for 90% of the agricultural produce in the country.
Smallholder farmers in Nigeria are primarily located in the rural areas of the country. About 70% of people living in rural areas in the country are smallholder farmers.
Rural communities have been the major victims of the rising state of insecurity in Nigeria. Activities of insurgents have seen more smallholder farmers abandon their farmlands due to the fear for their lives. A report published by Guardian newspaper showed that no fewer than 78,000 farmers in Borno, Katsina, Taraba, Plateau, and other states in Northern Nigeria abandoned their farmlands due to insecurity. Farmers inability to visit their farms has led to an increase in food prices.
Nigeria recorded its highest food inflation in over 15 years in February 2021 at 21.79%; this was revealed in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report. In March 2021, food inflation rose to 22.95%, and it is currently at 17.20% as of March 2022. SBM Intelligence, a research firm in Nigeria, indicated insecurity as one of the key drivers for rising food prices in the country in its Q2 2021 Jollof Index report.
A joint report by the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme – “Monitoring food security in countries with conflict situations”, projected that about 12.8 million of Nigeria’s are at risk of a high level of acute food insecurity between June – August 2021 with conflict and insecurity as a primary driver.
We believe that by tackling the root cause of insecurity and insurgency in Nigeria, we can increase the level of food security in Nigeria. Babban Gona recognizes youth unemployment as one of the primary causes of insurgency in Nigeria, and by using agriculture as a job-creation engine to employ a sustainable and substantial number of youths in the country, we can change the narrative.
We are also improving food security in Nigeria through the use of Artificial Intelligence. Our soil and plant health monitoring application helps members monitor their crops and soil by scanning them with a smartphone. This solution helps our members identify and detect soil and plant deficiencies and ultimately improve their farm yields.
Many wonder “Why agriculture?” The answer is simple: Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of resources that make it favourable for agriculture. The country has 85 million hectares of arable land, three of the eight major river systems in Africa, a largely untouched water table, and, most importantly, a large domestic market in terms of consumption and labour.