Food Security “There is no sincerer love than the love of food,” George Bernard Shaw a literary critic once said. His statement rings true, as food feeds the functions of society. However, not all countries feel the cushion of a full meal each day. Every year 15 million children die from hunger. Scarcity of food is an epidemic affecting people all over the world. Therefore, food security, the access by which all people at any time can have access to enough nutritious food for an individual to have a healthy life, is a vital part of a countries concern.
Nigeria is one such country, like many others in which food security is of high concern. No longer a third world country, as of 2005, Nigeria has been declared a middle class country and continues to develop from there. However, this does not make Nigeria exempt from the brutality of hunger and the shortage of food. Officially named the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria is a country located in West Africa with its borders being surrounded by Chad, Benin, Cameroon and Niger. Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the seventh most populated in the entire world.
Naturally, with such a high population the amount and production of food is a large concern for the government. As stated by Olyeran-Oyeyinkain the book, The Gene Revolution and Global Food Security, “Agriculture has become a major contributor to the Nigeria’s economy. Accounting for about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP) and employing about 60% of the work force” (Olyeran 117). The main crops that workers toil on are as follows: beans (varieties which include cocoa beans, soy beans) sesame, cashews, cassava, groundnuts, gum arabic, kola nut, corn, melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, Guinea corn, and yams.
Because of the many different climates that Nigeria possesses, it is possible for it to grow these varying crops. However, agriculture with larger sized crops is not a common form of farming for the country. What’s stopping larger production is not common factors such as scarcity of water or even an appropriate climate to flourish in, but it is restricted due to low fertility in the soil. This stops many crops from even sprouting. Also, lack of cultivation stops from farming on a bigger scale as well. Livestock is not a huge factor in the country anymore.
Though farming is not as large scale as it could be, it has taken over the land and caused insufficient homes for the animals to live in. Excess of population has also caused the countries game of elephants, tigers, buffalo, leopards, and other big game to be found in either animal reserves or remote countryside areas. The animals are forced to find homes elsewhere. Antelope, monkeys and jackals are still more commonly widespread and seen more often in Nigeria. The bigger game may be hard to catch but the common livestock eaten in Nigeria is as follows: cattle, donkey, duck, geese, goat, chicken, guinea fowls, pigeon, pigs, sheep, and turkey.
Meat is a widespread form of nutrition in the country, but crops are a much more common item to be dined upon. Fisheries also provide a large amount of resources for the cultures cuisine. Most popular seafood life includes crab, shrimp, shark and moon fish. With all this said, food security in Nigeria has not been the best over the years, with poor farming resources and food being outsourced, most of the country has been left hungry. However, as of a 2010 food security review of Nigeria, things have been looking up.
After the growing season completed in 2010 food supplies were on the higher side at both household and market levels. In most parts of northern Nigeria the livestock prices and household food reserve levels as of January 2010 are at an affordable price. These two factors are key elements in determining food security. This does not say that social deprivation does not still rain supreme in the country. Recovery from a difficult hunger season usually shows a slow growth, however in 2010 the hunger season had gone by faster than expected due to thee above addressed unusual prices of livestock and crops.
Commonly in Nigeria they outsource to other countries in order to make a profit off of their crops. While this gives them an increase in economic revenue, it leaves their people hungry due to lack of nutritious foods. This outsourcing of food is one of the major causes of the poor food security that Nigeria has often possessed. Before their civil war, which occurred in 1973, Nigeria was relatively self-sufficient in concerns to foods. However, after the war, imports and exports of food increased tenfold. Bread is the most common import, ironically enough imported from the United States.
Major exports include oil, cocoa, corn, yams and cotton lint. To make more income, instead of having a surplus of food, the food is sold off, leaving the country short for its citizens, thus making for a very poor food security. The money that they then make is not used solely for feeding the people. Despite there being a ban on exporting a lot of important food sources, such as milk, sugar, and flour, a free agricultural trade market was finally established in the 1980’s. A second leading cause in the poor food security is the commonly occurring oil spills that happen in Nigeria.
Nigeria is a large partner with the US, as it imports a lot of the United States oil to the country. The Delta region of Nigeria is the area that is hit hardest by these oil spills. The Department of Petroleum Resources estimated 1. 89 million barrels of petroleum were spilled into the Delta between 1976 and 1996 out of the total of 2. 4 million barrels between these year brackets. Clean up was slow and waste management of the sludge from recent oil spill accidents, as well as from the ones previously stated, is still a major concern for economic costs. An intervention plan is possible for the country of Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has approved several policies and undertaken a number of steps in order to help improve food security in Nigeria. These plans include the following: the National Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition, Primary Health Care Approach, Catchments Area Planning and Action, Gender Informed Nutrition and Agriculture, and National Special Program on Food Security. Government in Nigeria’s main focus however is on their policy entitled “Food and Nutrition Policy for Nigeria. ” This policy was put into place in 2002 and sets specific goals to be met.
These include the reduction of malnutrition among children under five by at least 30% by 2010, and reduction of micronutrient deficiencies. The main micronutrient deficiency concern being with vitamin A, iodine and iron. Their hopes were to lower this by 50% by the year 2010 as well. Lack of knowledge and technology is a main hindrance to any policies and actions set forth by the Nigerian government. With all these plans being looked into, hopes are that Nigeria can reduce the population of hungry even more in the upcoming years. However, if mire research is not gained into solving these issues, setting orth policies may be in vain if there is no action to back them up. Works Cited Department of Petroleum Resources. 2009. 20 11 2009. Akinyele, Isaac. International Food Policy and Research Institute. Garki, Abuja Nigeria. 2010. 20 11 2011. Nations Encyclopedia. 2011. 20 11 2009. Olyeran-Oyeyinka, Banji Gehl Sampath, Padmashee. The Gene Revolution and Global Food Security. Palgrave Macmillan. Basingtoke Hampshire, GBR. 11 2009. 20 11 2011. 117. Think Exist. 1999. 20 11 2009. Think Quest. 20 11 2009. United States Department of Agriculture- Food and Nutrition. Alexandria, VA. 20 11 2011. USAID. 1 2011. 20 11 2009.
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