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Nl,Jc..rian Trlbune t Uf:f j,a '1 16 October 2012

THE IMMINENT F OOD CRISIS its effort to draw global attention to the problem of food shortage in ifferent parts of the world, United Nations (UN) designated October 16 as the World Food Day with the theme this y e ar being "Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to feeding the world. " C ertain parts of the world -

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been experiencing acule food. shortage and the consequent scourge ofbunger. In some places, these problems are occasioned by conflicts while in some other plac es. they result from natural

or man-made disasters. IN conDict situations. people who are forc e d to flee their homes are herded into c amp s and fed with food rations becau se they have been displaced . Until normalcy returns to such places, the people are jobless and virtually hopeless. Food production becomes impossible while other enterprises arc

jobless migrants from the village s have been succumbing to harmful influences. THE problem of flooding wblch has been ravaging so many states of the federation has made a bad situation worse for Nigeria. Farmers have been sacked from thelr villages while their crops have been washed away by flood waters. A substantial percenta ge of farmers in the food -producing areas now live In-make-shift camps looking forward to the day the flood waters will recede. Apart from the problem of flooding , Nigeria has for long been contending with desert encroachment which is being progres sive l y aggravated by the poliCi e s of successive governments. Nig e rian governments have over the years been mouthing the policy of reaiforestation, but there is hardly anything to s how that the frontiers of the des ert are being rolled back . The sa me government which ha s b een counselling the people against :he use of firewood in their respec tive h o m e s has made the cost of kerosene and cooking gas prohibitive. Deforestation has thus continued unabated particularly in the rural and semiurban areas because the forest rem.ains the only sourc e of ready fue l for domestic and other purposes. The consequent dimunitlon of soU fertility has been resulting in lower crop yields and reduced capacity to meet food

disrupted when not destroyed. The freque ncy of confilcts and the different form s o f disasters , c oupled with inefficie n t use of land, water and energy, h ave conUnued to hamper food produc tioil llDd aggravate the problem of hunger in many puts of the world. This is why the annual enlight enment campaign of the world body to bring about efficient use of resources and the prevalence of a peaceful atmosphere for u n interrupted engagement in produc tive a c tivities should be fully embraced and seen as a basic requireme nt fo r the achievement of needs. food security. Those countries which PRESIDENT GoodJuck Jonathan said in have been relying on food aid or food the 2013 budget proposals that the importation to feed their population duty on imported rice would go up in should see today as a day of reflection, the comlng year. This is govemment's reordering of priorities and responsible strategy of boosting domestic governance which should include the productio'n of the commodity and achieveme nt of food security. saving foreign exchange spent on NIGERIA (alls squarely .... lthIn the (old procuring N350 b11l1on worth of ric e In of countries that need to get thelr acts Nigeria Bnnually. Should the together in the critical area of food government not first put in place an securit y . A country that previously accelerated programme of production had agrlculture u the mainstay of its that will ensure that there is sumclent economy has become a massive domestic production for the people's importer o f staple food items. For consumption before h1g.her prices are decades, t h e country has been paying imposed on Lmported varieties? The Up service to the mechanisation of ravaging Oood waters have made agriculture . The farming population matten WOISC. The proposed increase h •• b e en .geing while neces.ary In duty on Imported rice wll.l certainly facWtle. that are needed to attract compound the people's woes. the younger generation to agriculture THERE have been predictions of an and anc illary activities are not there. imminent food crisia even by the Migration from the rural area. to the Federal Government and the concourse urban centres has continued of events appear to be leading unabated in spite of the [act that the Inexorably towards the fulfillment of jobs are n o t available in the cities. the prophecy. Our contention" that The money that should be spent to It Is the bounden duty of any Improye Uvlng conditions in the government to avert or ameliorate a vWsae. is being committed to the food cmls and not to introduce 8111 acquisition of a.rms and ammunition policy that will ensure It happe.... '!bat to combat c rime In the major towns g the spirit o( the World Food Day. aDd cities because .0 of the


NIGERIAN TRIBUNE, 16 OCTOBER, 2012