Lagos – Africa’s largest producer of Maize, Babban Gona, has called for more investment in the Agriculture sector as part of measures to increase food security for Nigerian population estimated to reach 400 million in 2050.
The Chief Executive Officer of Babban Gona, Mr. Kola Masha, made the assessment while commenting on the 2021 Food Security Report Launch. He affirmed that “Nigeria ranks 98 out of 107 countries in 2020 Global Hunger Index with a score of 29.2 out of 100 points. About 9.2 million people in Nigeria were confronted with crisis levels of food insecurity between March and May this year amid insecurity, climate change, and the effect of COVID-19.”
He added that attaining food security requires intentional diverse approaches both within the public and private sector. Hence, holistic approaches to food security should be reciprocated by holistic national and international support strategies. The more farm communities, the greater our collective farm security, and ultimately food security as a nation.
According to the CEO, “increased investment in smallholder farmers who make up more than 80% of Nigerian farmers- many of whom are women and youths will improve agriculture productivity. This will enable the adoption of new technology inventions which is vital to guarantee food security and sustenance.”
“If they receive timely support, small-scale farmers and rural small and medium-sized enterprises have the strong potential to be at the heart of meeting the increasing demand for food and of revitalizing rural economies in Nigeria,” said Stefania Lenoci, Head of the Private Sector Advisory and Implementation Unit at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “To achieve this, we urgently need to channel more private sector investments to unleash the potential of millions of rural entrepreneurs involved in food processing, packaging, transport and trade.”
The Portfolio Manager, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Pius Anyiador reacting to Babban Gona’s 2021 Food security report stated that “Infrastructure investments and developments across the entire agricultural value chain are critical to having an encompassing solution to the myriad challenges faced in the agriculture sector. Growth in the sector can be achieved through the creation of innovative financing solutions that serve to catalyze interest and investments from both public and private partnerships; as such significant attention needs to be given to the improvement of critical market infrastructure required to boost local agriculture production, improve pre and post-harvest management, enhance standardization and quality of produce, and drive import substitution”.