Some agricultural experts in Lagos on Saturday have said that urban farming could offer new solutions to the recent high cost of food items in Nigeria.
They made this known at the 2023 AQAN Food System Summit with the theme: “Rethinking Sustainable Food System in Nigeria: Current Trends & Pathways”.
According to Dr Adelaja Adesina, Managing Consultant, Bdellium Consult Ltd, ‘Operation Do It Yourself’ farming in the urban areas will increase food production and the cost of food in the market.
Adesina urged people in the urban cities to grow some food crops in the confines of their homes and compound.
According to him, Nigeria’s population growth rate is estimated to be 2.4 per cent per annum, and projected to increase from about 220 million in 2023 to 400 million people in 2050.
He noted that this was one of the current trends and the pathways to sustainable food production that could feed Nigeria’s growing population reputed to be largest in Africa.
The United Nations project that Nigeria’s population will reach about 401.31 million by the end of the year 2050.
The UN projection also estimated that by 2100, if current figures continue, the population of Nigeria will be more than 728 million.
On his part, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Dr Olufemi Oke, said the essence of famers coming together was for the rethinking and sustainable of food systems.
Oke said that this was important especially because of the incoming administration.
According to him, farmers are coming together to ensure how food can be on the table for all Nigerians and the people of Lagos.
He said, “We are also collaborating with AQAN and we are also thinking of how we can improve on our food systems.
“We believe that if this can be done by the new administration then the price of the commodity will be reduce.
Also, Mr Abiodun Olaniyi, Executive Secretary, AgriQuest African Network, noted that the recent increase in the price of food items was due to the alarming rate of wastage of farm produce.
Olaniyi, the Convener of AQAN Food System Summit noted that Nigerian framers produce enough food to feed the nation but the high level of wastage had contributed to the artificial scarcity and subsequent high cost of food items.
The executive secretary said there was need to curb wastages of farm produce for farmers to enjoy more profit from their sweat.
“The problem we have in Nigeria is not that we are not producing enough food, the problem is that majority of food we produce get wasted.
“For example, 30 per cent of grains we produce are destroyed by insects. About 50 per cent of fruits and vegetables we produce are wasted during transportation.
“If these wastages can be reduced, prices of food items will be more affordable, as farmers will have more money,” he said.
Olaniyi also said farmers were also entrepreneurs, adding that when a farmer loses some percentages of farm produce, the normal practice would be to increase the price of available produce to cover up the loss.
He noted that the essence of the summit for upcoming farmers was to deepen their knowledge, practice and networking among the food systems practitioners and stakeholders in Nigeria.
Olaniyi expressed his belief that by 2030, Nigerian farmers should be able to put up a strong market for Africa in terms of Agribusiness.
The convener said the essence of the summit was also to increase food production, in terms of the business of Agriculture, not the culture of Agriculture .
He urged the incoming government to take it further from where the outgoing administration had left it
“We want government to focus more on more food production, food security and food safety.
“These are very paramount because when we have independence of food then that is number one independence for the people,” he said
Olaniyi also urged the new administration to work more on increasing food production, food security and food safety for the farmers in Nigeria.