From Caucasoid to Negroid, Mongoloid to Australoid, the 7.8billion United Nation global population estimate has one thing in common; regardless of the dietary type, food remains the most basic need for human survival. Rationally, it’s expected that people have access to 3 meals a day, 7days a week, 4 weeks a month and 12 months a year. By implication, the food need of an individual according to dietary metric is approximately 1,008 times in a year. A multiplier effect of 1,008 in the tunes of the 7.8billion food consumers is a huge task for the spatial stratum of food producers.
The impending global hunger and threat to food security, warrant the urgency to address the whole processes of food transformation from pre-production phase to consumption. Food Aid Foundation posited that one in nine people on earth does not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. Now, bringing it home, Sub-Saharan Africa has been tipped to have the highest prevalence of hunger, a further analysis showing about 45 percent mortality in children under five. Hence, a wake-up call to build resilience in agriculture to meet the rising demand of the teaming population, secure our future and ensure perpetuity.
More so, the declining ratio of food producers to food consumers in the rapidly urbanizing world is alarming. And it is no news this urbanization is explicated by a rapidly growing network and aggregation of labour force in industrial and service sector whilst endangering the supply streak of food producers. More often than enough, these unsung heroes have been relegated to the back end of major happenings in the cities, forgetting that the golden course meal on the rich man’s table is the product of the toil of the hand that gets dirty.
Reflecting on the enormous challenges faced by farmers in Nigeria, food production has been plagued with myriad challenges spanning through the informative decision stage to post harvest predicaments. Similarly, the marketing chain is faced with daunting challenge of recurring gluts cemented with price volatility. Farmers groin in regrettable trauma of figuring out a worthy compensation for their earnest toil whilst seeking a better strategy or safe practices. How will it be, if they could be liberated on the cloaks of data-driven information system, appropriate for decision making. It is therefore expedient to preserve the passion of these savior of masses and elites; that are locked out of the big share in the metropolis, by advocating for sustainable development engendered in real data that reflect their needs.
As far as this sector is concerned, decision making has to be result driven and socially inclusive. In this regard, technology could be gainfully employed in building a robust agricultural database. This will in no wise build a support system for policy frameworks, helping farmers, governments and both indigenous and international donors make informed decisions.
Towards a food sufficient economy, the Community of World Food Security (CFS), has identified the importance of agricultural data and analysis as a key pivot in its thematic workstreams in making a difference in Food Security and Nutrition. CFS’s multi-year programme of work for 2020 to 2023 reflected data collection and analysis as a critical player in global policy guidance for policy convergence and coherence to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.
From the foregoing, in pursuit of the global goal on zero hunger, the impetus to drive agricultural production to sufficiently cater for the global food demand is a major concern. And the pathway to achieving this is in a holistic approach to making effective production decision, strategizing on the drawing board with an underlying insight from what data reveals. To achieve this, it is essential that efficient agricultural database is put in place, where quality data is at a click away to prospective users. Through this, many producers can be reached by a well-coordinated pluralistic set of providers in a manner that is financially sustainable and meets development objectives.
For Fooddata Nigeria.
The issue of poor transparency and accountability is unarguably an age long tradition in Nigeria and the gross disregard for data, which could keep this in check is evident. Data is an important key to prescience, without it, we live by chance and amidst uncertainties, and this is not sustainable.
Our population as a people has remained a guess work after the last controversial failed national population census of 2006. Sadly, we keep building budgets and policies around this fraud annually. It is no surprise that we are not progressing as a nation.
This challenge is an attribute of all sector in Nigeria including agriculture. Without data, it becomes impossible to make evidence-based decisions and this has accounted for several policy failures and while budgets are not addressing the societal needs. We only continue to live by chance without solid data to plan our budgets and policies and this is only a matter of time before we are consumed by serious food insecurity consequences which are already threatening us.
Several billions of naira were budgeted for agriculture and farmers allegedly empowered. The results had remained obvious failure, more impoverished farmers, failing policies, increasing food costs, declining export revenue among others. More money is being diverted than reached the farmers but there are no ways the public could track this or hold public office holders accountable.
An instance is a report published by Premium Times on December 31st, 2019 – “Nigeria’s agriculture agency failed to account for 350 million naira – Audit report.” This and many more fraud are being perpetrated while farmers are getting the interventions on papers and our productivity increasing on propaganda.
These atrocities will continue until we set up systems to keep track of these funds from top to bottom and make use of data to measure performance.
While it is common knowledge that public officials are not data tolerant, we must continue as individual to make available these data and give platforms for the public to ask questions on how their allocated funds are being utilized, with measurable metrics.
The 2003 Maputo Accord which Nigeria signed with other African countries demanded that allocations to agriculture should be about 10% of total national budget, but so far, only the Yar’adua administration in 2009 reached half of that figure. The charts attached showed that neither states nor national agricultural gets the priority a country with geometric growing population needed.
The evil doer does less evil than the innocent citizen who watched him do evil without concerns. Be concerned, ask questions, take responsibility.
Follow us on twitter @FooddataN for updates on states and the nation agricultural funding, budgeting and impacts measurement.
FOODDATA -SELECTED CROPS PLANTING CALENDER
The reality of climate change has constantly disrupt this calendar in the past couple of years. We are committed to following how these events are changing and informing farmers on how to avoid the disasters that follow the sharp disruptions. This date reflects data for the last 2 years and the changes compared to the last 5 years have been so significant.
It is very important that we pay attention to these details and improve the reliability of the Agricultural weather data (predictions still quite inaccurate and not well circulated). We can give farmers all the inputs, subsidies and loans, none of these will protect them from the challenges climate change is imposing on them, especially when more than 70% of our domestic food production are still rainfed and bearing that irrigation is quite expensive for majority of smallholder farmers to manage. This is why our organization is also pushing for strengthening farmer’s cooperatives as a way to allow them to access certain technology and equipment with team force.
Attached here is a collection of planting and harvesting calendar in Nigeria. Please be informed that this is not absolute and corrections and suggestions would be appreciated.
Note: You can download (FOODDATA -SELECTED CROPS PLANTING CALENDER) and use, but be kind enough to reference the source. Not all free things are cheap.
Adekunle E. Ayandele
For Fooddata NG.