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in appropriate q uality on a consistent basis, which is food availability is yet 10 get its foot in Nigeria. accessibility, Food which is having sufficient resources to obtain app~ priate foods fo r a nutrItious diet is still far from many Nigerians, why appropriate use of food based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitatio n (i.e food utilisation) is also at an infancy stage in the country.

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sise th a t system encompasses activiti(s related to the production, processing. distribution. preparalion and cons'JIDption of food . T he o~ l comes of these activili[5. however contribute 10 food availabilily, acccR:ibility and utilisation which lead to food security Ol. nd a range of other 50cic~economic issues. nlC sum of all the processes in a lood system is sometimes referred to food chain." These state ments is credited 10 a rrofesso r of agriculture, Veronica Obatolu ('o f the Institute of Agricultural Rt-search and T raini ng (lARtieT) Apata, Ibadan,. Dyo State. Speaking o n the topic: "P rodu ct De velopme nt Research: It's r ~eyance to food security,'" the don said fOI an.,. n ation to achieve food security, three concept>..aa l framework known il5 pillar of food securily must nol be lacking. She highlighted the three pivot of food seCllril)' as food f vailability, food accessibili-y and food utilisation.

Asked 10 explain this three major framework for pillar of food security and whether Nigeria has the three pillar, she said sufficient physica l food

Commenting on developing countries and food security issue, Professor Obato lu explained tha t there is persistence of high leve ls of malnutrition among people in the developing countries. -rhe root cause of food insecu rity in developing countries is the inability of people to gain access to food due to poverty. Farmers, who are the producers

of over 90 per cent of the food supply, make up the 50 per cent of this popu· lalion. The rest of the food insecure population con·

sists of the landless poor in rural areas and the ur· ban poor"', she stated. Furthermore, the ex· pert posited that the world is now facing a new set of intersecting food security challenges, ad ding tha t Nigeria faces two major present and fut ure food security challenges which are widespread chronic under·nutrition and asso-dated micronubient deficiency w hich s he said d ramatically affects the health and well-being of both adults and children. The second cha llenge, highlighted by the agriculture leclu rer, is the rapidly emerging threat 01 overweight and assod· ated chroni c djseases linked with large sca le patronisation olfasl food companies in recent time.

"For food security, in· adequate d iel closely linked. to the general standard of living. the environ- men tal cond itions a nd whether a population is able to meet its basic needs forlood . Therefore food security is not jusl a poverty issue, but a much larger issue that involves the whole food system and aJfects everyone of us in some way. So what is the way forward? Professor Oba tola said, increased food prod uction and/or creating wea lth was not e nough to meet the challenge of food security. The key to meeting these challenges also lies in the abi li ty to co nve rt the ra w fa rm produ ce to valuable products 50 as to ensure food adequacy for all and making it accessible to

all. Moreover, she p roposed some producl deve lopme nt based research strategies, which she emphasised t hat when imple. men ted together wi th a lready existing im p r oved agricu ltura l production and accessibi it y network, would hold good prospects fo r s ubstantially alleviating food inseCllrity not o nly in Nigeria, but other developing counl.ries. Her proposa l in· cl ud e; die l dive rs ifica· lion; improv.ing household-level technologies; increasing loca l va lue added and small s cale agro-food industries, others incl ude; s treet . food; ulili salio n o f underutil ised crops and healthy food.

Why agric graduates are not into farmin

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OR a meaning ful deve lopmenl to be witnessed in the rt.ltion' s agrieultural 5eC-" tor, one of the s te~ to be taken f~)( s ustainable success I~ to make sure that agnCllllural grad u· ates in the country were compelled to go into the the practice of farming." These words of advice was giving by an agriculture expert.. Dr Paul Ilona. According to th.e cassava expert, who ~tired fro~ the InternatIOnal Insll· tule of Tropical Agricu1ture(rrrA)~Ib~dnn.Oyo Stolte, the Situation where thousands of you ths were graduating from the nation's universities and colleges of agriculture, yet, many of them are not into the practice of agricultu re. Dr Ilona further statf!<t

thai ava il: ble s tatistics showed that majority of practising farmers, espedally those in the grassroots. are getting tired and weak with age no longer on their side, st.ressing thai youtllS who are able and agile are not ready

can'tseethemon thefann. \~e can't ~ them in the !J veslock Industry, we can't even feel their presen~ in the ministries of a~Clllture, not to talk. of a&ncu ltural r~arch tn Stitutes: Wh~t 15 a~~lIy happerung. I m begmnmg totaketheba tonofthep~ to get worried . (ession from the aged farm" We' re talking of seters. ting the nation's agrieulHe a lso explained that tural sector on an a«elerif things continue 10 fo llow at~d motion towards this trend, then it would get qwck recovery and devel10 a stas~ where there may op~ent, yet, !ve are not be sca rci ty of practis ing talkmg of .setting agenda farmers in the rural areas. rorouragnrulturalgraduIn his words Mwhat Is atesto make sure that they happening to o~r colleges also contri~ute thei r quoof agrirulture and univer- tas to nationa l developsities? What is happening ment, we should come out to Ihousands of agricul- wilh a policy that would tural graduates we turned compel them 10 practice out from these universities their profession instead of and colleges of agriculture running after white collar everyyear? lnfact,weneed jobs," he state<!. 10 ask where are our agriThe expert who is now cultural graduates? We the country's representa·

- Paul tive of Harvesl Plus posited that other professionals like docto rs, lawyers, engineers, archi teels and even parami litary and military officers are into large scale farmin g. whe.reas, those who spent years in univers ities, al e running away from their trained profession. Ilona said, "a resea rch done recently by a social .scientist revealed that less thanO.] percent agriculture graduates are really practising. Even without showing any bias to this research. one can easily come to that conclusion by observing most of the farms we have in different parts of the country. "Many of the big farms across Ihe cou ntry a re

Ilona owned by non-agricul· ture graduates. The owners of these farms have not even been to a ny school or <oUeges of agriruJture. Despite this, they are doing very well . Therefore, you can see thai we need to do some-thing that would attracl the attention of our agricultural gradu ates into farming," he emphasised . On w hat could be done to find a solution to the proble m, Dr Ilona said the government should make the practice of farming attractive by giving the sector necessary support, as well as things thai would make commercial filJ:lTli ng acceptable and lucrative_


NIGERIAN TRIBUNE, 06 DECEMBER, 2011