The Nigerian government says it plans to release the country's strategic grain reserve to combat the growing cost of food. Officials say a meeting is underway to work out long-term strategies to tackle the effects of global food crisis on its citizens.
Meantime, the authorities are urging people to conserve food. Steve Osuji is a spokesperson for the governor of the southeastern state of Imo. He says Governor Ikedi Ohakim has taken steps to boost food production.
“We are going to go into commercial agriculture. We are going to insist that senior government functionaries have substantial farms in their in their local governments [areas]. We are going to ensure that fertilizer is distributed on time at subsidized rate. Those are some of the key points he raised at the kick-off of the planting season.” Osuji says the government will put in more resources to raise food production. “Certainly we have to commit more resources if key functionaries are asked to take farming more seriously.
To mobilize they have to be funded, and [on] the commercial farms he spoke about, farming is done now at a larger scale and a little bit more mechanized.” Osuji says previous administrations neglected agriculture, leading to reduced production, while population continued to grow. “Imo State is quite strong in cassava, in maize, in yam and cocoa yam; those are her strong produce over the years.
But like every other thing around here, it seems we have continued to do with agriculture…the same way we have always done it, at subsistence level with hoes, knives, shovels and rakes. We’ve not been able to raise it to any other level of using a lot of tractors, cultivating large expanse of land. Most farmers do not have more than one hectare or two at most, so it’s been at subsistence level.”