Food Crisis in the South West:An analysts View

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By Dr Solomon Ekundayo

 

Photo Caption: Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state addressing the press after last week SW Governors meeting in Lagos on Food Security in the region

Only God knows what they have used on us.

We have become slaves to the Northern Farmers and slaves to the Igbo Traders. We keep buying and buying and only selling our Lands and Properties in return.

*Our excuse of insecurity is flimsy.* There is more insecurity in the North, yet they still manage to produce Food that they send to us.

*What is the Technology behind Tomatoes and Pepper planting as if we were not planting them as children in the past.*

All our Governors are so fixated on Federal Allocation forgetting that they can get more funds in Agriculture than what they are getting from Abuja. It is a big shame on us in the South West.

We that used to plant cash crop for exports in the past are now finding it extremely difficult to plant Tomatoes and Pepper. What a shame and the elders are looking at us.

750 million worth of Pepper and Tomatoes are bought in Lagos on a daily basis by the residents, in one month, the people in Lagos spend 22.5 billion only on Tomatoes and Pepper.

The farmers in the North will not mind the distance and bring these items covering over 700 Kilometers to Lagos and go back with billions. Yet the 5 States that surround Lagos will fold their hands and watch helplessly.

There is no State in the South West that will not be making more than 30 billion monthly as IGR if they can leverage on their proximity to Lagos. We will sit down and be generating all manner of excuses.

We are sitting on millions of Hectares of arable land, fertile land and yet ‘EBI N PA WA’. Nonsense!.10,000 Cows are killed in Lagos every day. Let us use 400,000 Naira as a benchmark. That is 4 billion daily and 120 billion monthly, what is the rocket science in ranching that we cannot do in the South West to take advantage of this and many more.

Garri is expensive. Apart from Lagos, my State Ekiti is the smallest State in the South West, we have 300,000 Hectares of arable land, Oyo State is more than 5 times our size, to achieve 100% supply of annual demand does not require more than 3% of our arable land. We are sitting down doing nothing. It is a big shame

Without counting Lagos, if we put together the landmass of the remaining 5 South West States, it is above 74,000 Kilometer Square.

Remember Israel is 22 Kilometer Square.

At this time, these 5 States put together have 3 million Hectares of Arable Land.

A Hectare of Land is about the size of a 15 Plots of Land or about 2.5 Acres.

*1 Hectare will give you 50 Bags of Rice.*

*1 Hectare will give you 100 Bags of Garri.*

We can imagine the Quantities of Tomatoes and Pepper we can get from just 1 Hectare of Land.

*Yet we have 3 million Hectares.*

All the States in the South West Geopolitical Zone in total have 137 Local Government areas. Apart from Kano State, Oyo State has the Highest number of local government areas in the whole of Nigeria next to Kano.

The Local Government areas are the 3rd tier of Government and they have responsibilities to the people as the lowest level of Government. They also receive allocations from the center apart from the IGR.

Let us use 300 million Naira as the Average allocation per month. What the 137 of them are collecting cumulatively is about 41 billion Naira.

Let me also quickly add that there are some Local Government areas in the South West that are collecting about 1 billion Naira monthly.

The Duties of the Local Government areas according to the 4th Schedule of the 1999 includes food production and Agricultural development.

Imagine them putting 15% of their income into Agricultural Development, cumulatively we are going to have about 6 billion Naira monthly and about 72 billion Naira annually.

If the Local Government areas in the South West can invest 72 billion into Food Production in just 1 Year, will the Food Inflation be like these?

Will there not be massive Creation of Direct and Indirect Jobs, MSME Development, Industrial Growth and Development etc.

We will sit down and be making flimsy excuses.

Expecting the President to start growing Tomatoes inside Aso Rock and sharing it to our homes.

*You ask about the Location of Yoruba in the Economy of Nigeria?*

 

Late Premier of Western Region,Obafemi Awolowo….his government pioneered and built 20 Farm settlements in the old Western Region…where are they now?

We are at the base of the ladder. We are not doing anything apart from Selling of Properties and Land.

Kwara State is another state that is like the South West States. Being Largely Yoruba people, they too have our Attitude to Work.

A State Richly blessed with land, good weather, good topography, lying on the River Niger Basin.

*Kwara State alone can meet 25% of the Rice Needs of Nigeria.*

There is a local Government in Kwara State that is bigger than Ekiti and Lagos States put together.

*What are they doing with the Land?*

The Local Government I am referring to has over 500,000 Hectares of Land.

I once lived with an uncle in Sobi Barracks, Ilorin. It was there that I learnt how to grow Rice. We used to have 5 Big bags of Rice produced from our small Farm. We were just 2 in Number. We only buy items like Salt, Palm oil and few items from the Market.

Our Governors have a lot to do since the land use decree of 1978 had made them the custodians of the land.

-DR SOLOMON EKUNDAYO LAGOS

13TH JUNE 2024

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