2020 Agricultural Performance Results: Is Nigeria food secured? (II), by Prof M.K Othman

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Agricultural Performance Survey (APS) is the most versatile, all-inclusive annual agricultural research, which covers the nation spatially and provides up-to-date qualitative estimates of agricultural data.

So far, many important stakeholders rely heavily on the results of the APS to make focus and formulate policy. This is why on yearly basis, the participants of the APS increase.

For example, in 2017, FEWSNET (Famine Early Warning Service Network), Nigeria joined the array of the usual participants.

In the same year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) provided sound support to the researchers through the provision of 200 Android tablets, which facilitated electronic data capture during a survey.

In 2018, the World Food Program and Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH- Nigeria participated in the survey. No doubt, the involvement of these important stakeholders raised the scope and quality of the APS.

However, the challenge of Covid-19 did not allow the full participation of these international agencies. Nevertheless, a total of Twenty multi-disciplinary teams of three scientists each constituting 60 scientists conducted the survey across the 36 States and FCT.

Now, what are the major findings of the 2020 APS that was presented to the public by the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammadu Sabo Nanono on October 16th, 2020? The date, 16th October was the World Food Day celebrated globally to remind us of our level of achievement towards the attainment of food security.

The 2020 World food day was marked in a very unusual manner, no thanks to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pandemic. There was no “Agricultural Show and Exhibition” at the Abuja Keffi Road Exhibition Ground, no agricultural workshop, and other physical festival activities as usually the case.

The period was marked with lectures, discussions, public enlightenment guided by the 2020 World Food Day Theme “Grow Nurture, sustain together. Our actions are our future” using electronic channels; TV and Radio stations as well as Social Media platforms.

Since the commencement of World Food Day, several themes were chosen annually to bring public attention to hunger and food and its devastating effect on the lives of people worldwide. During this year’s celebration, FAO, Nigeria office was quoted saying, “nearly 690 million people went hungry 2019, about 10 million more since 2018.

It also said the COVID-19 pandemic could add between 83 to 132 million people to this number, depending on economic growth”.

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/business/421111-world-food-day-poverty-food-insecurity-poor-investments-in-agriculture-worry-experts.html.

Thus, APS public presentation, made at Minister’s Conference Room was one of the series of activities that celebrated World Food Day in Nigeria.

The rainfall situation was the first part of the APS findings in 366 book documents. Rainfall is a major and critical input to crop production during the wet season. In fact, rainfall availability, occurrence, frequency, and spatial and temporal distribution determine the success or failure of a cropping season.

APS Report indicated a slight increase in rainfall from February to August 2020 in amount and frequency in 2019 than 2020. “There was a little delay in the commencement of rainfall across the states in 2020 compared to 2019 experience”.

There were occurrences of floods in many states across the country. At the same time, there were reported cases of drought and dry spell especially in the Southern part of the country.

The data indicated that many local governments in the Southwest experienced dry spells that led to drought between June and August within the year.

The drought was also reported in Anambra, Enugu, and some parts of Imo and Ebonyi States in the Southeast. Edo State was as well affected by the drought in the South-South region.

Similarly, some parts of Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, and the Nasarawa States reported drought that affected the growth of crops in the Northcentral. Other local government areas affected by the drought were: Obudu, Ogata, Ikom, Bekwama in Cross River State; Karasuwa, Yusufari, Bade, Jakusko, Bursari, Geidam, Yunusari in Yobe State and Argungu, Alairu, Birrin/Kebbi, Augie in Kebbi State.

Floods were experienced in several areas with heavy losses in the production areas of many crops. River floods are perennial events in several states in Nigeria. Each year, the hapless citizens bear the brunt of the seasonal dreadful event, which could be preventable, if not, the effects could be mitigated, and this kind of situation may not arise.

Generally, an annual flood occurs in several towns with devastating impacts on the poor and vulnerable populations who live along the River basins. In the month of July 2020, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) predicted a total of 28 states and 102 local governments of the states would be at risk of heavy flooding in the year 2020.

According to the Agency, the flood projections would vary from moderate to severe flood in most parts of the country. A total of 62,083 houses were destroyed by flood in 15 states of the federation.

The state with the highest number of houses destroyed was Jigawa state whereabout 50,000 houses were affected. This was followed by Kano State with about 6,200 houses.

The least number of houses destroyed by the flood was recorded in Nasarawa State with only six houses during the period of this study. In addition to houses, farmlands, infrastructure, lives were also lost due to flood in the 2020 wet season. Deaths of 86 people in nine states of Nigeria were reported.

The states were Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kebbi, Gombe, Niger, Bauchi, Nasarawa, and Kwara State. The highest number of twenty deaths was in Jigawa State while the least number of one person was in Kwara State.

More revelations of 2020 APS will be reported next week.

Professor Othman is the Executive Director of the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.

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