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‘Public Eye’ delves into effects of insecurity on smallholder farmers, food supply

‘Public Eye’ delves into effects of insecurity on smallholder farmers, food supply
March 16
13:27 2021

Agriculture as a means to achieving economic prosperity was the focus of the recent episode of Funmi Iyanda’s ‘Public Eye’.

Rotimi Williams, rice farm owner; Mira Mehta, CEO of Tomato Jos, and Saratu Abiola, a writer, contributed to the topic.

While airing her opinion on the matter, Abiola stressed the need for improved governance in agriculture.

“When we have improved governance, we can meet people at the point of their needs, the needs of a farmer with 10 hectares differs from one with two hectares,” she said.

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“Right now, nobody is going to invest in smallholder farmers, except the government. They need government support and unfortunately, majority of our food comes from there.”

On her part, Mehta explained how she left her country to come to Nigeria and start a tomato business.

Speaking about how her business has fared so far, she noted that the issue of insecurity is affecting farming.

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On how she deals with it, she said her company partners with security agencies to provide security.

“When outsiders are spotted, the community informs our company that they heard about something on the side of the road, it is that intel that determines whether we are calling the government or the local LGAS,” she said.

Making reference to the recent attacks in the northern part of the country, Williams explained that most of the attacks are in rural areas, of which 90 percent are farmers.

“Anything that affects the rural area also affects your food supply. And that’s the picture I don’t think Nigeria gets at this point,” he said.

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According to Rotimi, his farm has been plagued with clashes and invasions from criminal elements, thus leading to low productivity.

“Last year, for six months, a one hour 15 minutes journey to the farm, and a one hour 15 minutes journey back from the farm just sitting down anxiously, almost waiting to be attacked on the way,” he said.

“And when I get back from the farm, the first thing I do is pop my headache pills because I’m going to get a headache from the tension. That’s the price you pay for farming in Nigeria today. And it is taking its toll on people.”

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