By Livinus Nnebedum
A hungry man looks angry because his stomach is not secured and if the hunger persists for a long time, death may come resulting from hunger and empty stomach. Can the provision of enough food for every citizen of Nigeria bring about some relative peace and have some solutions to the present problems of insurgency in Nigeria? The provision of food security, employment and eradication of poverty would help to some extent in minimizing the rate of crimes, Social-ills and generally insurgency. Food Security does not only mean providing enough food for sale in the various markets, but they should be readily available and affordable at all times during normal and adverse situations. Food banks or Food Reserve Programme should be properly implemented to take care of harvested food products with enough modern storage facilities like Silos that could store food items for a long time and still maintain its quality and quantity including maintaining market value. Preservative insecticides and other materials should be applied to control incidence of pests, diseases and fungi attack during storage.
Do you think that there is enough food for 198 million Nigerians? If it is possible visit all the remote parts of this country before you answer this question. Some people like Robert Thomas Malthus, an English Economist in 1798 held that the world’s population must ultimately outstrip food supply and if left unchecked, population increase geometrically while food production increase in arithmetical order. That was in 1798 but now the world population is over 7 billion.
The democracy of Nigeria should start from the stomach, hence once the problems of hunger are solved, the war against hunger and poverty is won and democracy should operate on the smooth ground. Agriculture should be promoted among other sectors of the Economy in planning, funding and implementation. We should once more go back to the land permanently and keep it busy by tapping all the abundant resources in our land before the oil dries up. Food Insecurity is a threat to peace and stability especially in the Developing World, Nigeria inclusive, since food security is of great significance to guarantee democracy, good governance and stable political economy. Hunger cuts across all ethnics, cultural and religious boundaries hence there is need for international alliance or cooperation against hunger.
A popular parlance in hungry society says that most people in that society eat once a day and the nutrition value of that singular meal is very poor.
The formula for that type of feeding is “O-I-O”, meaning no food for breakfast, very little and poor diet for the launch and no food again for dinner. At times the people from those poor society say that they are “Carrying Mouth”. In other words carrying mouth to them implies that they are holding their mouth under lock and keys without food in the morning and night as a result of food insecurity. This is the beginning of their stomach being attacked because of lack of food, call it food insecurity or stomach insecurity.
Those societies we are talking about need urgent Stomach Security. Let us remember that a hungry man can begin to think evil because he has no peace hence his stomach or belly is being attacked. This hunger and stomach attack can trigger-off crime-waves in those societies and their youths become more aggressive.
Thus stomach and food insecurity can trigger-off insurgency and rebellious activities leading to loss of lives and properties.
This is insecurity in its general form. Thus when we are fighting insurgency in Nigeria and Insecurity of lives and properties, let us also fight food and stomach insecurity.
The World Food Day is being celebrated on 16th October every year initiated by Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O) of the United Nations. This is specialized United Nations Agency whose main goal is to eliminate hunger on a world wide scale. The headquarters was moved from Washington to Rome. The mandate is to raise level of nutrition, improve Agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural population and contribute to the growth of the World Economy. FAO originated at a conference organised by U.S President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hot Springs, Virginia in May 1943. In October 1945, the first session of the FAO was held in Quebec City Canada.
FAO is of great assistance to Nigeria in terms of food security. This is at International level. There is need for greater emphasis on food and stomach security starting from the grass-roots at family levels, Wards/Villages, towns, local governments, States and then national Levels and finally connecting all the International Agencies/Organizations involved in promoting Agriculture like International Fund for Agricultural Development (I.F.A.D) and F.A.O.