Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, has attributed the present state of Nigeria’s food insecurity to the country’s reliance on oil and subsequent neglect of the agricultural sector since the 70s.
He made the declaration in his lecture titled ‘Addressing Nigeria’s Food Security Challenges Through Hi-Tech Approach: The Role of Nigerian Universities’ delivered during the 13th convocation ceremony of Al-Hikmah University in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Senator Shettima pointed out that the issue of food insecurity in Nigeria has become heavily projected due to a myriad of factors including policy inconsistencies, mismanagement of resources, corruption, climate change, insurgencies, and natural disasters.
According to him, “It is only when Nigeria as a nation begins to think boldly about revolutionising production, processing and guaranteeing sustained food security that it can identify sectors of the nation’s agricultural assets that are most likely to benefit from the application of technology.”
“The final issue involves the choices Nigerians have to make regarding our future. We can overcome insecurity if we can grow our economy to radically reduce our poverty levels. Only an agricultural revolution can guarantee this.
“We can reduce our dependence on the rest of the world when we can employ all who seek employment. We can improve our levels of political cohesion when we reduce stress around diminishing resources and rely more on what we all have in abundance, he stressed.
He noted that President Tinubu understands the connection between food production and national security, hence his recent declaration of State of Emergency; and has also expressed a policy commitment to enhance productivity through increased funding for the sector.
Senator Shettima also mentioned that tertiary institutions are actively contributing to the government’s push for enhanced food security.
“Tertiary institutions are playing critical roles in assisting the federal government to promote food security in Nigeria through research and the integration of agricultural study in their curriculum”.