STRATEGY FOR GUARANTEE FOOD SECURITY IN EDO STATE: CASE STUDY OREDO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Since independence in 1960, the Nigerian economy had operated under two major economic philosophies with the turning point being 1986. Prior to 1986, the economy was highly regulated with government taking direct control of the "commanding heights" of the national economy. By the early 1980s, significant distortions were thought to exist in the economy with respect to pricing of tradeable items leading to sub-optimal allocation of resources in the economy. Hence, in 1986 an economic reform programme in the form of a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was embarked upon anchored principally on the deregulation of the economy and liberalization of trade. The targets of these measures were principally the relaxation or abolition of import licensing, tariff structure, price control, foreign exchange control and interest rates control. Reform processes such as those embarked upon in Nigeria in 1986 usually leads to "a complete re-orientation of the economy" (Olashore, 1991) and this was indeed the case in Nigeria where the deregulatory and liberalization philosophy remains the critical basis of economic policy despite the official abandonment of Structural Adjustment Programme in the 1990s. Spurred by globalization, which itself is essentially deregulation on a global level, the Nigerian economy has since remained anchored on free-trade, market mechanism and private sector orientation, the key instruments of the SAP that channeled in the reform of the economic philosophy underlining the Nigerian economy in 1986. Although the shift to economic deregulation and trade liberalization affected many sectors of the economy, its impact on the agricultural economy was one of the most acute and remarkable (Adubi, 1996; Ojo, 1994). The key features of agricultural production and the long tradition of governmental regulation of the sector became radically affected by the deregulation and liberalization philosophy with vital consequences for food security. Following over two decades of deregulatory practices, this research work reviews the strategies for food security in Oredo Locl Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria and the effects of this shift in economic philosophy on one aspect of human well being, namely, food security using trend examination and descriptive methods. The paper compares the food security status of the country before and after the adoption of deregulation as the dominant economic philosophy. It considers the lessons derivable from Nigeria's experience and proffer suggestions in this regard.
In the recent time, there have been a lot of concerns expressed over the looming danger of food crisis in many nations, including Nigeria. The Food and Agricultural Organization, among others have been persistent in expressing these concerns for the global food crisis over the years. According to Food and Agriculture Organization, food security obtains when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO, 1996).The main goal of food security therefore, is for individuals to be able to obtain adequate food needed at all times, and to be able to utilize the food to meet the body’s needs. Food security is multifaceted. The World Bank (2001) identified three pillars underpinning food security. These are food availability, food accessibility, and food utilization. This means that a nation whose food production level is unable to satisfy these three criteria is said to be food insecure. Supporting this assertion, Maxwell (in Nana- Sinkam 1995:111) stated that a country and its people are food secured when their food system operates in such a way as to remove the fear that there will not be enough to eat. He further stressed that food security requires that the poor and vulnerable have secure access to the food they want. The World Food Summit plan of Action (1996) states that food insecurity occurs when;
People experience a large reduction in their sources of food and are unable to make up the difference through new strategies.
The prevalence of malnutrition is abnormally high for most time of the year, and this cannot be accounted for by either health or care factors.
A large proportion of the population or group is using marginal or unsuitable strategies, and
People are using “coping” strategies that are damaging to their livelihoods in the longer term or incur some other unacceptable cost, such as acting illegally or immorally.
Nigeria’s situation on food security is highly precarious and pernicious as a significant percentage of the Nigerian population is left with only the bilious taste of poverty. Haruna, a member of the House of Representatives in an emotion laden speech in 2005 said, “People are dying and the hunger is simply unbearable. We need to tell ourselves the truth; there is hunger in the Land. Our people go to bed with empty stomachs (TELL: August 22, 2005:23). This lamentation persists till today in Nigeria. Given these criteria and scenario, Nigeria in the present circumstance can be said to be food insecure.
Food insecurity remains a fundamental challenge in Nigeria. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (2002) enlisted the country among countries faced with serious food insecurity problems. The vision of Nigeria to have physical and economic access to food on a continuous basis has therefore continued to remain a mirage (Adeyeye, 1997). As at 1986, about 14 million (16%) Nigerians were food insecure with majority being peasant farming households (Abalu, 1990). Over 40% of households across all agro-ecological zones in Nigeria face the problem of severe food insecurity (Mariya-dixton et al., 2004). A crucial issue in the development of a nation is the availability of food for the populace. Hence, food security becomes important in any consideration of the sustainability of the wealth of a nation (Osundare, 1999). Being a critical factor of economic growth and development of a nation, food security has involved a global concern that calls for the need to evolve strategies that are workable and sustainable for minimizing or possibly eliminating the obstacles against full realization of universal food security (Onyido, 1997). In the light of this, a foremost step towards remedying any food security problem would be to examine its characteristics nature among those affected. However, the concept of food insecurity is complex and goes beyond the simplistic idea of a countryâ€™s inability to feed its population. The main dimensions of food security in individual countries have not been subjected to serious analysis. In Nigeria, common approaches used to assess food security situations involve the use of bench mark food security requirements. For instance in a study on food security, Olayemi (1998) gave the threshold for food security as the ability of the household to meet 2260 kcal of energy and 65 g of crude protein per capita. In their own view, Joseph and Ajayi (2002) indicated that the recommended minimum nutrient requirement to be consumed per day per capita includes the 2191 kcal and 65-86 g crude protein out of which at least 35 g or 40% must be animal protein. Accordingly, the bench mark food security requirements approaches either classify a household as either a food secure or a food insecure household. However, these methods fail to examine the extent of the severity of food insecurity among households. Therefore, a more intensive approach for food security assessment is necessitated. This study adopts such an approach: The USDA (2000) approach for the analysis of farm household food security.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
It has been on ground that people suffer from malnutrition as a result of food insecurity, thus researcher deem it fit to investigate different reasons associated with the strategies of food security in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State and suggest ways of improving the livelihood of the citizenry.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to create awareness and to educate the populace on the importance of a nation food secured and how to improve household food security.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study is to guide parents, individuals, farmers, government and the society on the danger of food security. Food has caused so much havoc by consuming contaminated food prepared with addictives and chemicals that are injurious to health.
To provide the necessary information about food they buy e.g. expiry dates, brand names, weight lost and where to purchase them to know their right as consumes intelligently within their means of available resources.
The study is focused on the strategies for food security in Nigeria. This is because a sizeable proportion of Nigeria as population resides within the rural areas. In spite, of the invasion of the urban sector by rural and semi-rural population, about 70% Nigerians depend on agriculture and live in the rural areas (Okolocha, 1993; Abdullahi, 2002). Also, the bulk of those suffering from food insecurity remain in the rural areas (Fresco, 2000).
This study assumes sizeable importance since knowledge drawn from the study could enhance the formulation of sound macro and micro policies necessary for the emergence of sustainable food security policies. It could also indicate those key variables (areas) that could be managed to better the food security status of the majority of the Nigerian populace who are mainly agrarian.
This research work is titled “strategy for food security in Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State” and it is restricted only to Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
FOOD: Food is any substance liquid or solid which when eaten and digested provide the body with the necessary nutrients.
SECURITY: Protection from danger or wastes.
AVAILABILITY: Things that can be used to obtain or use to achieve something.
ACCESSIBILITY: Means things that can be reached the opportunity or right to use.
ADDICTIVE: Means any substance including any source of radiation exposed to result that substance or its bye product becoming a part of its characteristics.
POVERTY: The state of being poor
UTILIZATION: The process of using one’s ability to achieve from little.
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