Like other countries in the developing world, Nigerian farmers and entrepreneurs in food processing and production are facing a number of challenges. These range from deforestation to overgrazing and drought to erosion and flooding, for the farmers. Over the years, entrepreneurs, processing agricultural raw materials into finished products are experiencing a lot of challenges due to unstable micro and macro economic indices or policies.
On several occasions, concerned stakeholders have been urged and still being advised to work out appropriate modalities to resolve the challenges towards ensuring sustainable food production and security. In this piece, Mojoyinola Adeyemi, a graduate of the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, speaks with Tekedia on the need for the governments to provide an enabling environment for the agriculture sector and entrepreneurs.
Tekedia: One of the needs human beings must have for surviving on earth is food. What are your views about food production in Nigeria?
Mojoyiola Adeyemi: Food production in Nigeria is on the average, we are not producing at a full capacity and this is because the enabling environment is not encouraging enough for farmers and agriculturists. I believe that with the right policies in place, we can become the largest food producers in West Africa. It’s rather unfortunate that as a country we are still importing foods that we can conveniently produce locally.
Tekedia: Is Nigeria producing what it needs sufficiently?
Mojoyinola Adeyemi: I don’t think so. But I know we have the potential to be the largest Food producers in West Africa. However, I hope the government of the day can lend 100% support to the agriculture sector, especially the processing segment. We have exportable foods like Cocoa, Sorghum, Rice,Palm Oil,Cotton,Garlic,Ginger, Groundnut and so on. The land is green. Our lands are arable. Our youths are able. When the needed support is given to the sector, there won’t be any need to import food into the country.
Tekedia: By 2030, Nigeria and other countries are expected to attain responsible food production and consumption goals of the global goals. How would you describe the country’s readiness?
Mojoyinola Adeyemi: The country’s readiness at this point based on my observation is 10%. Our Government has not come to terms of investing heavily in Agriculture, which I believe will go in a long way in boosting the economy. We still largely dependent on oil, which I am afraid might not hold us up for too long considering the dwindling oil price and the fluctuating dollar exchange rate.However,it’s not too late to key in and take advantage of the opportunity as it still presents itself, I believe with that we can slightly meet up but not on a 100%.
Tekedia: Recently, you started a food production business, how does your brand resonate with responsible production and consumption goals?
Mojoyinola Adeyemi: I started a pizzeria with my Husband 5 years ago, in which we produce flour based foods like pizza,shawarma,bread, chops among others. We cannot dispute the fact that flour is a major food component because it is made out of wheat and from wheat, we get bread, cakes, pizza and so on. I can proudly say that everything locally produced goes a long way in boosting food production, the economy and aids healthy consumption for the populace.
Tekedia: What do you think stakeholders need to do for the realization of the goals?
Mojoyinola Adeyemi: The stakeholders need to work together in unison to make sure that Nigeria attains global food production. It is doable. We have what it takes, but of course, this is only attainable if the government can pull their full weight and give the agricultural sector the needed support. Without this in place, it will be an exercise in futility.
Tekedia: How do you see your business in the next three years?
Mojoyinola Adeyemi: In three years time I hope to become a household name and to be able to align with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in food consumption and production.