By Fatima Muraina
Residents of the South Western part of the country have been urged not to panic over the recent food supply strike by northern suppliers, describing the action as a wakeup call to return to the farms.
They urged the people to interpret the strike as a challenge for the people to return to the farms.
Agric experts who spoke with The Hope described the strike as a warning signal that food is an instrument of war and urged the people to brace up for the wake-up call.
Those who spoke include the state President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (ALFAN) who doubles as the Chairman of Farmers Congress, Mr Abayomi Monilari; the Chairman of Ondo State Agricultural Commodities Association, Mr Gbenga Obaweya and the Chairman of Agricultural Research Institute of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, AAUA, Dr. Jibayo Oyebade.
Others are Senior Lecturer at the Federal College of Agriculture (FECA) Dr. Emmanuel Mojinjesu and the Public Relations Officer of Akure Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA) Mrs Olubola Adeleye.
Dr Jibayo Oyebade opined that the threat would only expedite the take off of agriculture in South West Nigeria, saying people should not entertain any fear.
He stated that the negative impact would only be felt for six months before agriculture in the region would blossom.
“Government, individuals, NGOs should all be proactive in agriculture. Like I am doing urban farming in The Hope Newspaper Organisation, when it is completed, every house will know that they can plant yam inside a rice bag”, he said, adding that government should return effective agricultural practices to all schools.
“Government should involve the Ministry of Agriculture to open more farm land as done during Agagu, when 2,000 hectares of land was opened at Ore while emphasis should be put more on irrigation farming to resuscitate the sector”.
In his opinion, Dr Emmanuel Moyinjesu said the SouthWest states could only tackle food challenge by giving priority to and investing heavily in agriculture.
He asserted that a total reengineering of the agric sector was needed, with the policy makers, private organisations and the youth actively involved.
“There is need to involve all the secondary and primary schools and a call for an emergency agricultural summit to chat a way forward”.
Similarly, the President of ALFAN, Mr Abayomi Monilari said the Northerners’ decision should not be seen as a challenge but an encouragement to the South-Westerners.
Part of his recommendations include provision of adequate security for farmers, empowerment of farmers, encouragement of cluster farming among farmers and development of enhancement of animal husbandry in the Western region.
The Chairman of OSACA, Mr Gbenga Obaweya described the cut of food supply to the region by Northerners as a wake up call to embrace agriculture.
“The blockade is to further add salt into our wounds and flaunt arrogance of food production superiority. However to us, it is an opportunity clothed in overalls, as we believe that it will be another wake up call to our Governors in the South West and members of the public to pay more attention to Agriculture in a better planned and result -producing way”, he averred.
The Public Relations Officer of ACCIMA, Mrs Olubola Adeleye described the South West as a region blessed with all it needs to build and sustain effective agricultural practices to cater for its teeming residents.
She said the people of the region could cope with the current situation but the people must boost agricultural produce for self-reliance.
Meanwhile, Commissioners of Agric in the Six South West States of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti are currently attending an emergency virtual meeting with Southwest Agricultural Company (SWACO) and the DAWN Commission.
The essence of the meeting is to address the issue of Food Security for Southwest Nigeria, especially in the light of the blockage of food supply to the South by the North.