Editorial: COVID-19 and need for increased food production


Aside from the loss of lives occasioned by the global pandemic which is currently ravaging the world, one reality which many may gloss over is that it has been able to highlight and bring to the fore some of our weaknesses. One of the fallouts of the effects of the COVID-19 is the increasing level of hunger which erupted thereby.

In fact, it is suspected that one of the things dreaded most about the deadly virus arising from the lockdown orchestrated by it is the fear of hunger taking down many lives. This fear is exemplified in the desperation of people to attack food vending trucks and vehicles wherever they are found. Reports of robbery in certain parts of the country have spiked up.

In response to the hunger challenge, the government rose to provide what they called palliatives in form of providing food to the less privileged. Good spirited individuals and politicians who were making a show of their own contributions joined efforts as well.

It is sad to remark that what is provided as palliatives pales into insignificance when a lot of variables are taken into account. Suffice it to say that what reached the people can hardly provide a day’s meal for a family of four in some of the cases.

Aside the situations created by the pandemic we already have an aggravated situation that we cannot even feed ourselves under a normal situation. In spite of the land mass we have in this country and the arable soil available yet we cannot see the way out of the woods in terms of food security.

In the so called developed societies food is taken for granted. It remains the commonest thing to worry about. It is available and affordable. While they have gone past food needs and exploring the space to seek the abode of God, we are still struggling to fill our stomach to remain alive.

Shockingly in our own clime with our ever growing population, good climate, fertile soil, and varieties of numerous food crops we cannot feed ourselves. Instead we place more emphasis on imported foods, growing other countries economy while we suffer from unemployment and hunger.

The governments in the past have paid lip service to food production but the present government of President Buhari and his predecessor have somewhat extended meaningful support to agriculture through friendly agricultural policies. We commend their efforts to ban importation of rice which turned attention inwards and the results are very clear.

Edge Express appreciates the government efforts so far to revolutionize agriculture but we call on the government to do more by getting everyone involved irrespective of status to get involved in food production. If all of us have farms we can grow sufficient food even at subsistence level to waddle through the hunger virus.

Interestingly, some workers have taken advantage of the COVID-19 forced holidays to restart farm work in their respective homes. That is a good step in the right direction. The government should roll out a massive program to encourage people at all levels including institutions to embrace agriculture. It is shameful that with our size and all the bounties that nature has endowed us with we are unable to feed ourselves. We cannot answer the giant of Africa by mouth when countries less endowed as ourselves are feeding us. The time to make a difference is now.


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