The prices of goods and services in Nigeria have been spiraling upwards at a troubling rate over the past months. This comes on the back of inflationary trends.

The local currency, the naira, has also been dropping sharply against the US dollar.

Consequenly, the cost of living is rising in leaps and bounds, and more and more Nigerians are finding day by day that more and more basic needs are priced above their heads.

President Bola Tinubu has tried to repair the economy by discharging the encumbrance of fuel subsidy as well as artificial controls on the value of the naira.

Economists say both are worthy moves and would eventually yield good result. They add however that in the light of these policy adjustments, things would get worse before they got better.

Ever since, there have been deliberations among and between the Federal Government and other interest groups about means and measures to cushion the expected harsh effects of the stated policy decisions. There have likewise been some measures taken by government along these lines and evaluations here and there about their effectiveness.

Most impacted by these economic challenges are the nation’s teeming poor, as their most basic and threatened need is food. As is often said, when food is taken out of the equation of poverty, the burden gets significantly lighter.

Ordinarily, in Nigeria, food production and distribution would be considered a low hanging fruits with quick fixes, as we are blessed with abundant arable land and other inputs. Unfortunately, food cultivation and distribution here are encumbered by unusual challeges.

The contentions and crisis between farmers and herders across the country for land to practice their vocations is one of these.

Perhaps even more telling is onslaught of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram and sundry terrorists, who frequently attack farm settlements, especially in the north of the country, killing, maiming, kidnapping and looting produce and other properties, and forcing farmers to flee their farms.

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Many of the farmers end up in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps while their farms lie fallow and unproductive, and the food shortages so caused further shoot up prices.

Then again, there is the outmoded practice of one-season farming in Nigeria, which grossly undermines food production capacity and prices.

“This is because farmers in Nigeria have been impacted by the lack of access to water to the extent that there is no real enabling environment for sustainable all-year-round agricultural production in the entire country,” says Ibrahim Kabiru, national president of All Farmers Association of Nigeria.

Despite the push for increased local food production, most dams across the country are still dysfunctional and irrigation schemes are not working. The challenge with the dams in most cases is that their outlets have been clogged and need to be desalinated.

As a result, most farmers rely on one-season rain-fed agriculture.

“The farmers will be better served by improvement in the utilisation of existing dams than even building new ones,” Kabiru says.

Nigeria has a total of 264 dams with a combined storage capacity of 33 BCM of water for multipurpose uses, of which 210 are owned by the Federal Government, 34 by the states, and 20 by private organisations, according to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

Given the above, it would appear that enhanced food cultivation locally is a low hanging fruit that can and should be speedily harnessed. What is missing appears to be a firm resolve to rise up to the challenge of conflict resolution regarding the farmer-herder crisis.

We further need to resolve the lingering life and resource threatening insurgency in the north of Nigeria to allow farmers back to productive activity. It is said that a new and workable strategy has been mapped out for this.

We further need to clear the outlets of the nation’s dams of the blockage and other impediments that distort year-round irrigation on our farms.