Food scarcity: Traditional ruler, worshipper, make case for irrigation farming

Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan

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The Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, and traditional worshippers in Nigeria, have urged the Federal Government and governors in the Southwest region of the country to urgently adopt irrigation farming as a way of tackling the projected food scarcity in 2021.

This follows the recent outcry by the Farmers Association from the Oke-Ogun region of Oyo State, who said there would be scarcity of maize in 2021 because of what they called a failed weather forecast which made them cultivate maize causing them to lose their investment to drought.

Oba Adetunji advised that for Nigeria to avert food shortage in the year, effort should be directed towards mass irrigation farming to avoid the effects of bad weather on planting, while farmers should also be protected from criminals that attack them and destroy their farms.

The first class Monarch made the call over the weekend, at the installation ceremony of Dr Fayemi Fakayode as the Mogaji of Onibudo family, at the Ibadan House, Oke Aremo, Yemetu, Ibadan.

Oba Adetunji, who was represented at the event by Chief Shina Olatunji Aresa, the Mogaji of Okiti Family in Ibadan, said every Nigerian should be agitated with the news of possible food crisis in the year 2021 as people are already experiencing economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “We should see that the time has come for us to realize that the way we practice farming here in Southwest Nigeria cannot sustain us in food sufficiency. The year 2021 food shortage projection by some Nigerians is predicated on so many reasons ranging from bad weather to insecurity and largely poor funding from the government.”

We can avert hunger and food crisis if the Federal Government can come to the aid of farmers and provide security for farmers. Situations where farmers were killed and maimed in their farmlands, situations where crops were destroyed by cattle will not attract young Nigerians to farming,” the Oba stated.

Oba Adetunji called on Governor Seyi Makinde to sign the Anti-Grazing Law of Oyo State so as to give assurance to those that are interested in farming and for perpetrators of farm destruction and attacks on farmers to have a rethink before committing such crimes.

While also speaking at the event, the Secretary-General, International Council for Ifa Religion, Dr Biodun Agboola, said the time was ripe for the Southwestern states to collaborate in ensuring food sufficiency in the year 2021.

Agboola, who is a lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, said only irrigation system could put a lasting solution to food crisis in Nigeria, giving example of the full adoption of irrigation farming in Northern Nigeria supported by their governors and the Federal Government, through federal agencies.

He said: “As a farmer myself, I have come to realise that the problem farmers encounter is lack of good facilities and infrastructures in the farm and for the citizens to escape hunger, we must produce more food. The Southwest governors should collaborate and evolve solutions to this problem.”

Dr Agboola urged the Oyo State Government to give attention to fixing the Ikere Gorge Dam at Iseyin, the Erelu Water Works at Asejire and others which could be used to assist farm settlements along those areas, in order to be free from poor weather and natural occurrences that affect farm cultivation.

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