By Gloria Abutu
Deployment of technology in crop production has been identified as the surest means to ensure food sufficiency in Nigeria.
An expert from the department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Modibbo Adama University, MAU, Yola, Professor Bashir Aliyu gave the indication while speaking to Radio Nigeria on the Federal government’s declaration of state of emergency on food insecurity in Nigeria.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO, Crop Prospect and Food Situation report, about 25.3 million people in Nigeria will face acute food insecurity during the June to August 2023 lean season.
The report cited insecurity, especially in the north, climate change, inflation and high food prices as factors influencing the situation.
While explaining that availability, accessibility and affordability are indicators for food security, the professor of Agro Processing and Engineering noted that the deployment of technology would help in boosting crop production.
Professor Aliyu explained that “Agricultural engineering can help in getting equipment that will fast track any task and reduce amount of energy used.”
“Artificial Intelligence can be used to work out a program that will tell you that your farm in this area needs water quickly; Robots can also be deployed and you can fly them over the farm and the camera will identify any problem, hence the quantity of crops produced overtime will increase as a result of deployment of technology”, he added.
Professor Aliyu pointed out that to promote stability, it was necessary for government to provide enough food for citizens in order to address the challenges of survival.
He added that the the declaration of a state of emergency was a timely move to avert the consequences of hunger.
According to the professor, “Scientifically it has been tested and it is globally known that hunger leads to anger, anger leads to violence, violence leads to lawlessness and lawlessness leads to anarchy. So, any government that does not want to have crises on her hands will not just make a declaration, but match it with action, otherwise, things will deteriorate.”
He also called for urgent government intervention by offering incentives to enable them have number harvest and providing farm inputs such as seeds, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers among others for increased yield.
The expert urged government to make deliberate steps to avoid anarchy by making food stored in the national reserve, available for all citizens to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.
“We are in emergency mode, therefore there should be no delay, government has to quickly do the needful. The first most important thing is that if there is food stored anywhere, it should be released to communities in order to bring down the cost of food”, he said.
Professor Bashir also advised people to handle food with utmost care so as to avoid wastage.
It could be recalled that the Federal government on 13th July had declared a state of emergency on food insecurity in Nigeria and directed that all matters pertaining to food & water availability and affordability, as essential livelihood items, be included within the purview of the National Security Council.