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July 25, 2024
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Market Prices Essential Determinant of Food Security -Don

Clarion Olusegun 

In view of the importance of food security,  Professor Sola Olorunfemi of the department of Economics, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, has rated food as the most basic of all human needs and sustenance, adding that food prices are essential determinant of food security.

He said man needed food for life’s sustenance, prevention of sickness and provision of energy for the normal psychological activities of the body, including the normal state of mind. 

The Professor of Economics made this known on Tuesday, while delivering his speech at the school’s 21st inaugural lecture, themed: “Fragilities Of Food Security Amidst Macroeconomic Issues: A Ticking Time Bomb”, held at the AAUA  multipurpose hall.

According to him, food is a basic necessity of life and its importance at the household level is obvious for serving man’s basic means of sustenance.

The inaugural lecturer  however said  that  the situation of food  in Nigeria is so fragile; delicate and unlikely to be able to resist strong pressure or attack if care is not taken. 

He therefore recommended that to avoid the imminent time bomb, the federal and state governments should heed to available warnings and implement solutions to the impending threat of food shortage.

In his words: “An improvement in the food security situation is advocated to pull the nation on the right track of development.

“Food-secure households are assets to any nation. The level of food security of households is an important yardstick for measuring the quality of a nation’s labour force. This is because food-secure households are likely to be free of disease and malnutrition. Suffice it to say that a high quality labour force is a required engine for growth and economic development in Nigeria. “

Speaking further on the possible areas of intervention, which can mitigate the problem of food insecurity in Nigeria, the don said increased domestic food production, supply and availability would enhance stability in both food production and supply and ensure access to foodstuffs, therefore, the Nigerian government and people must embrace local production of food. 

“More arable land should be allotted for farming purposes; and enabling conditions should be provided as incentives for more participatory engagement in the agricultural sector.

“More funding should be allocated to the agricultural sector to strengthen research and extension services. Also, there is a need to strengthen alternative financing such as agricultural insurance schemes, farmers’ cooperatives etc.

“Empowerment programs, in the form of funding for youth who may be interested in farming should be encouraged in many parts of the country”, he added. 

He stressed that food prices are also essential determinants of food security noting that food prices seem to be rising faster than the income of households in Nigeria as a result of inadequate purchasing power, the poor household may not have access to food. 

In his words; Since the government does not exercise control over food prices, and given the lack of formal safety net, it is important to design and implement policies that would eventually reduce the cost of food.

“The maintenance of a stable macro-economic regime is required to restore stability to many food security variables and reduce the wide fluctuations currently observed in household food security situations. To achieve this, policies must be complementary and mutually reinforcing.

“ In the short run, there is the need to encourage households to improve their nutritional intake through a reallocation of food expenditures. 

Olorunfemi also  emphasised the essentiality of research in the area of food security and economic growth, in order to identify the main causes of food insecurity and proffer probable solutions.

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