The most pressing global issue in the world today is food and security. Food security in Africa has become under great threat due to factors that are both natural and artificial, depending on the country. When people lack access to safe, healthy, affordable, and nutritious food that limits them from living a healthy life, the situation is referred to as food insecurity. Food insecurity in underdeveloped countries is mainly associated with government control over food. It is estimated that by 2050, the world population will be ranging from over 9 billion, which is 60% greater than the current one. The population will be high, and yet the same supply of the food will be available. The pressing issue is how the government will be able to deal with matters such as malnutrition, conflict, or even hunger. This paper proposes a plan that will address the issue of global food security in Nigeria that considers the impact of prior solutions. Factors that interrupt the flow of food from the source to the people in Nigeria, and the forms of technology can be used to improve food security will be discussed. New, existing, and emerging technological advancement address four main aspects of food security that is improving the fertility of the soil and irrigation, increase the availability of food, and finally biofortification making food more nutritious.
Keywords: Accessibility, Availability, Affordability, Food Insecurity
Food is an essential element required for human survival, together with shelter and clothing. The three elements are considered as the man’s basic need. Food security in Africa has become under huge threat due to factors that are both natural and artificial, depending on the country. A secure food country, as explained by Pinstrup-Anderson (2009), is one in which its people have access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food, which is the foundation of a healthy citizen. Food insecurity, therefore, arises when people lack access to safe, nutritious, and food for a healthy and productive life. The issue of food insecurity in developing countries is mainly associated with government control over food. Limiting food accessibility to nutritious food by the government leads to its shortage. This paper proposes a plan that will address the issue of global food security in Nigeria that considers the impact of prior solutions. Other factors that will be discussed are the factors that interrupt the flow of food from the source to the people in the developing country you selected, and the forms of technology can be used to reduce hunger and improve food security. Previous, current and emerging technological advancement help to address four main aspects of food security that is improving the fertility of the soil and irrigation, availability of food and making food more nutritious through use of biofortification.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations defines food security as ‘When all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (Barrett, 2010)). Close to one billion people of the world’s population are hungry, undernourished, and lack access to adequate food. These people live below 2.5$ dollars a day with about 1. Billion people are living under extreme poverty that is below 1.25$ day (Barrett, 2010). Security impact more than the lives and welfare of human beings but also contributes significantly to the economic and political stability. According to food, insecure countries are mainly associated with unstable territories. The three core things associated with food security is food security, accessibility of food, and food adequacy (Nwajiuba, 2012). Food insecurity, therefore, arises when people lack access to access to safe, nutritious, and food for a healthy and productive life.
In Nigeria, Poverty is the root cause of food insecurity. United Nations estimated that nearly 805 million people are undernourished as of 2014. Most of these people loving in under developing countries whereby they are unable to meet their dietary energy requirements. While many countries across the globe are making a significant improvement in alleviating poverty, Africa, particularly sub-Sahara, African continue to la. Generally, demand for food is influenced by the rate of population growth in a country. According to Pinstrup-Anderson (2009), most countries with the majority of its people facing food insecurity have high fertility rates and high rate of population growth. The consequence is a challenge in meeting nutritional needs. It is expected that by 2050, even though the feature; city rates reduces, the population is expected to be more than double (Fasoyiro & Taiwo, 2012). Subsaharan Africa has the highest number of people with the lowest agricultural productivity and with most people living in poverty.
Nigeria, even though it prides itself with its economy becoming the largest in 2015, their rate of poverty growth in the country is alarming. More than seventy percent of people living in Nigeria are surviving on less tha a dollar per day while food insecurity stands at approximately 79% (Akpan, 2009). Since Nigeria discovered oil in the 1970s, the government concentrated its effort on oil and energy product and forgot about the agricultural sector since it could not withstand the economic sagacity oil industry. Nigeria, therefore, became heavily reliant on the importation of food. The rural areas have become more prone to malnutrition, limited supply of food, unaffordable food, low-quality food, and sometimes complete lack of food for consumption. According to Fasoyiro & Taiwo (2012), malnutrition is defined as the disparity between consumed and what the body requires, and it results in loss of weight, deficiency, impaired function, among other things to a human. Hemodialysis, which is a condition caused by malnutrition, is mainly affecting the under developing nations.
Insufficient food production in Nigeria is the leading cause of interrupting the flow of goods to the people. Nigeria has about seventy-five percent of its land suitable for agriculture, but only forty percent of its land is cultivated. According to Akpan (2009), the majority of the people in Nigeria engage in subsistent farming on their mill lands to feed their household. Akpan adds that 90% of Nigeria agricultural production is the output of inefficient small scale farmers (2009). Another factor that is interrupting the flow of food to the people is the reliability on seasonal rainfall. The country also has poor infrastructure such as roads which worsen rural poverty situation by creating adrift between the rural farmers and the market.
In Nigeria, insufficient policies and corruption also contribute to food insecurity. According to Nwajiuba (2012), inefficient policies, especially concerning agriculture, trade, and economics has resulted in food insecurity. The government has failed to develop and implement policies that have a connection to food. The structures, designs, and strategies implemented fail because they are not designed in consideration with the public interest.
Climate change and natural disaster have also caused food insecurity in Nigeria. According to Fasoyiro and Taiwo, climate change is responsible for the loss of biodiversity as well as physical access (2012). Climate change affects agricultural output and distribution of the product to the market. Despite innovation in technology, an increase in the food supply is highly dependent on climate and weather conditions. Also, natural calamity makes people in the developed country vulnerable to food insecurity. For instance, Nigeria experienced flooding between July and October 2012, which because of persistent rainfall, over 2.8 million people in the affected areas were displaced (Akpan, 2009). Food security in these regions due to low stock available and high prices for the available food.
To help with the continuous supply of food for the people living in Nigeria, the International community will need to continue supporting the country in such things as food aids. According to Ozor and Igbokwe (2007), the government of Nigeria can consider implementing policies and measures that ensure the accessibility of a continuous supply of food. A country like Nigeria that heavily depends on importation food can consider actions that will reduce the transaction cost of importing them or souring directly from the producing nations.
Widespread use of technology is critical in intensifying production of food. According to Ozor and Igbokwe (2007), technological advancement, and improving farming practices us ey to increase agricultural production, tackling the issue of climate resilience. Some of the options that Nigeria can opt to reduce food insecurity is by adopting transgenic crops. These crops are resistant to drought, insecticides, and reduced use of fertilizers. Due to land degradation in Nigeria, such crops will increase the productivity of food per area unit. Scholes (2012) add that using drought-resistant seed varieties, which is helpful to handle seasonal rainfall. Another technology is used of drip irrigation and precise application of fertilizers and agrochemicals. The farmers also need to adopt practices such as pest management, soil management, and improved watershed. Food accessibility can be enhanced through the use of post-harvest and processing technologies, while biofortification can be used to make food more nutritious (Beddington et al., 2012). The However, getting this technology to the farmers to help them in large scale production of food is not east However use of the technological approach is limited to scarcity in resources, the impact of greenhouse emission, deforestation, on other environmental illness. Widespread use of advanced technology is vital in increasing agricultural production in an environmentally sustainable manner.
In Conclusion, new, existing and emerging technological advancement address for central aspects of food security that is improving the fertility of the soil and irrigation, increase the availability of food, growing food accessibility through the use of post-harvest and processing technologies and biofortification making food more nutritious. However, harnessing such technologies requires massive investment and development of both human capital infrastructure and knowledge flows. Agricultural innovations are thus key to improving food security.
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