Saturday, September 21, 2013

Promoting Food Security For Improved Rural Livelihoods in Nigeria


INTRODUCTION: Beyond Diagnosis And Prescription To Focused Action.
The appalling severity of Africa's food insecurity and how best to escape it has in recent years and even months been the subject of many meetings at all levels in the region. Most notable fora have been the landmark African Union summits of Maputo in January 2003 and at Sirte in February 2004, which now serve as reference points for all else that is discussed on this issue.
Africa is also party to global commitments made under the plan of Action of the UN's 1996 world Food summit organised by FAO and seeks to achieve the Millennium Development Goals set under the auspices of the United Nations. It may also be noted that the Maputo and Sirte commitment on areas of action cover the entire spectrum of agriculture and food security interventions from farm, through post-harvest and processing to marketing and trade; they also cover enabling conditions for success such as financing, human capacities research and technology.
But what is Food Security and what are its objectives?
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) noted that Food Security exists 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.
The broad objective of a Food Security Programme is to contribute to sustainable improvements in the National Food Security, through rapid increase in productivity and food production on an economically and environmentally sustainable basis, reduce year to year variability in agricultural production, and improve people's access to food.
National Special Programme for Food Security in Nigeria
§  NSPFS is an integrated agricultural production programme seeking to increase household food security for poor farming communities in Nigeria.
§  NSPFS presently covers 1 09 sites, one site for each senatorial district in the country.
§  NSPFS is exclusively funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
§  NSPFS is farmer driven as all activities are based on farmer's demands.
§  The farmers demand can be summarized as follows:
-     Timely provision of agricultural inputs;
-     Access to credit to acquire inputs.
§  The NSPFS mandate is to respond to these farmer driven demands in a timely and coordinated fashion.

It implies access to the desired quantity and quality of food at all times by every man, woman and child in the nation.
NSPFS was formally launched in Nigeria on the 1 8"1 of March, 201 3 at Buruku village, Kaduna State. The project consists of the following: irrigation, soil fertility improvement, crop intensification, animal production and health, aquatic and artisan fisheries, marketing, processing and processing components. This programme is wholly owned and funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria in a partnership arrangement with FAO providing administrative and technical support. National ownership is a key element of the Nigerian programme.
The broad objective of the programme is to contribute to sustainable improvements in the national food security through rapid increase in productivity and food production on economically and environmentally, sustainable basis, reduce year to year variability in agricultural production, and improve people's access to food.
Food security is crucial to sustainable human development. It rests on a tripod of food availability, affordability and accessibility.
Women participation in the Food Security Programme
Please permit me if I wander off a little bit and reflect on some of the attitudes of the political leadership in Nigeria to the issue of women's participation in the Special Programme of Food Security. It is a topic which we tend to relegate to seminars and workshops such as this. Very few of us give consideration to the fact that women play the most significant role in food production and must therefore be seen as occupying a strategic position in our drive to achieve Food Security in Nigeria. Although there is diversity in household production patterns, women in Nigeria spend up to two-thirds of their time in traditional agriculture and marketing, with their work hours tending to exceed those of men. Women in rural areas grow at least 50-percent of the nation's food. They work in all aspects of cultivation, including planting, weeding, applying fertilizer and harvesting as well as post-harvest activities. They are also involved in poultry and livestock production. While women produce much of the nation's food supply and are the backbone of food production and provisioning for family consumption, their productivity is generally low and based on long work hours on small landholdings. Their names may not always appear in the headlines because they are not involved in the contest for 2015; and yet to any serious thinker, they are the ones promoting and sustaining better rural livelihoods. May the Almighty God bless them.
Government's new paradigm shift:
From Food Security to Agricultural Transformation Agenda
In an address presented at the 36'h Annual conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the Minister of Agriculture commended the commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan for the launch of "Agriculture Transformation Action Plan"(ATAP). The ATAP has the objective of improving the agricultural sector and boosting food production. Government is committed to increased investment in food and agriculture production with the following as its policy thrust:
Ø   Creation of more agriculture and rural employment opportunities to increase the income of farmers and rural dwellers through modernization of production and creation of an agricultural sector that is responsive to the demands and realities of the Nigerian economy.
Ø   Fostering effective linkage with industry to achieve maximum value addition/processing for export.
Ø   Under the Agricultural Transformation Action Plan, fertilizers and other inputs will be sold directly to farmers.
Ø   Government will no longer be directly involved in the procurement and distribution of fertilizers.
Additionally, and because Nigeria is rated as the world's largest cassava producer, for example, a Cassava Transformation Plan, using a value-chain development approach has been embarked upon by the Government under the Agricultural Transformation Program. The Cassava Transformation seeks to create a new generation of cassava farmers oriented towards commercial production and farming as a business, and to link them up to reliable demand, either from processors or a guaranteed minimum price scheme of the government. The overarching strategy of the cassava transformation is to turn the cassava sector in Nigeria into a major player in local and international cassava value-added products by adopting improved production and processing technologies, and organizing producers and processors into efficient value-added chains.
The expected outputs in this effort for example, are starch, HQCF, sweeteners, dried chips, high quality gari, and fuel ethanol.
Value added Agriculture
Value-added agriculture refers most generally to manufacturing processes that increase the value of primary agricultural commodities. Value-added agriculture may also refer to increasing the economic value of a commodity through particular production processes, e.g. organic produce, or through originally-branded products that increase consumer appeal and willingness to pay a premium over similar but undifferentiated products. Apart from improving farmer's incomes, value addition has the ability to address the increasing level of unemployment in Nigeria.
Conceived from this perspective, the post-harvest systems of a country as they evolve from its primary agricultural production become the most powerful and strategic prime barometer or yardstick for measuring or determining if the desired agricultural change is taking place. They perform this function because value-added agricultural products emanate from primary processing within the farm-gate center, and progressing to secondary, tertiary and downstream levels, all within the domain of post-harvest technology.
Keeping this approach in mind, there are basically three ways in which value addition to farm produce can be achieved:
Level 1. Post-harvest level/primary processing:
Proper cleaning, grading and packaging e.g vegetables, potatoes, yams, fruits, tomatoes, etc.

Level 2. Secondary processing: basic processing, packaging and   branding e.g. packed rice, millet, maize, cowpeas etc.
Level 3. High end/downstream processing: supply chain management, modern processing technology, packaging of processed foods, branding, marketing e.g. potato chips, plantain chips, breakfast food, noodles, macaroni, etc.
All these levels will economically add value to a product and form characteristics more preferred in the market place.
Role of Value Addition in Transforming Nigerian Agriculture.
The roles of value addition within the context of Agricultural Transformation in Nigeria are multiple and catalytic. This is so because value addition embraces the range of technological questions that constitute the basis of the transformative operations of processing including importantly, a consideration of regenerative R&D that ensures that processing remains at all times competitive. Experience from around the world has shown that crop campaigns to raise productivity require a close partnership with research and development of enabling technologies.
In addition, and most importantly, value addition is at the critical milestone on the road to any meaningful transformation from primary agricultural production to agro-industrialization.
Value-addition accelerates the growth of economic development which is the process by which an economy is transformed from one that is dominantly rural and agricultural to one that is predominantly urban, industrial, and service-oriented in composition.
From Cassava alone, each of these values added products- starch, HQCF, sweeteners, dried chips, high quality gari, and fuel ethanol, is a harbinger of very strong industrial base.
With respect to wider industrial development of the country, value addition becomes an alternative production and marketing strategy that requires a better understanding of the rapidly changing food industry and food safety issues, consumer preference and effective agricultural management. There are various ways of adding value to a commodity and in a country like Nigeria, the scope of value addition is mind-boggling because of the availability of raw material and large market size. Six primary roles are important here:
Ø Value addition to agricultural produce reduces qualitative and quantitative losses of agricultural produce by bringing industrial processing nearer to the" sources of raw; material production.
Ø It augments foreign-exchange earnings by providing the basis for export of processed products and extractives rather than low-value raw materials and semi-processed products.
Ø Provides much-needed experience and training in the dispersal of industrial growth to backward and rural areas so as to generate new and enhanced employment opportunities.
Ø Creates enhanced opportunities for expanded spread of ownership of production units.
Ø Value addition stimulates the development of technological capabilities in terms of the capacity to engage in different scales of productive technologies in food processing.
Ø Fosters the development of engineering capabilities to design and manufacture food processing and ancillary machinery.
Clearly, these six elements continually interact and must be understood if any form of transformation in the agricultural sector is to begin.
Commodity Value-added Chain Activities in Nigerian Agriculture.
Since marketing of value-added products is more remunerative than raw commodities, farmer-processor linkages are needed to add value as per demands of the consumers. There is a great scope of developing some of our traditional food items from root and tuber crops, cereal grains and oil seeds, fruits and vegetables and flesh foods; and add value to them and form characteristics more preferred in quality and sensory attributes in the market place. Presented here (Table 1), is an attempt made to present sections of value added products to Nigerian agricultural produce, based on agricultural food resources of the country's ecosystems.
Table 1       Globalised Scheme of value-added chain products of the Nigeria Agricultural produce based on food resources of the country's ecosystem
Value Added products
Gari, High Quality Cassava Flour, Starch, glucose, Fuel ethanol, dried chips, Pellets, Garina
Instantized yam flour, chips
Potatoes, Plantain
Chips, Starch, Plantain chips
Flour, chips
Brown and white rice, rice flour, parboiled rice, Rice noodles
Maize and sorghum
Maize flour, popped corn, sorghum flour, popped sorghum
Soya beans
Soymilk, soyflour, soybean oil, soy-yoghurt, soy-based ice cream
Cowpea flour
Peanut butter, peanut brittle, peanut oil, kulikuli
Palm fruits
Palm oil, palm kernel oil, margarine, soap.
Cocoa, coffee beans
Cocoa powder, coffee powder
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit juices, cordials, squash and syrup, fruit beverages, fruit leather, fruit bars, Tomato ketchup, Tomato paste, Jam, Fruit wine.
Ginger powder, oleoresins, essential oils
Cashew fruits
Cashew nuts, Cashew wine
Flesh foods
Snack Meat Products (Kilishi, Suya), Salted Smoked Fish. Milled Dried Meat Products, (fish, meat)Gelatin.

Equipment Requirement
Root and tuber crops Rice processing Palm fruit processing Cereal Grain Milling Spaghetti products Groundnut
Root and tuber crops
*    Self powered cassava grating equipment
*    Screw/hydraulic press
*    Fermentation holding bay for cassava mash
*    Sifter (for fiber separation from mash)
*    Gari frying equipment (community fryer)
*    Gari milling and screening equipment for product diversification (plate mill)
*    Packaging equipment
*    Diesel engine (6-8Hp water cooled), with mount fixtures concrete slab or demountable
*    Chipping machine
*    Pelleting machine.
Rice processing into destoned brown and white rice, and rice flour.
*    Parboiler
*    Concrete slab or demountable dryer
*    Rice huller and polisher
*    1 6-Hp water-cooled two cylinder diesel engine
*    Plate mill (for rice brokens)
*    Bag sealer and scales
*    Destoner
Palm fruit processing for palm oil extraction
*    Stripper
*    Sterilizer
*    Digester/Extractor/Presser
*    Clarifier
*    Nut Cracker and Kernel oil Press (optional)
Cereal grain milling into flour (custom milling)
*    Plate mill or burr mill (pulley driven)
*    Hammer mill, particularly for maize a Sifter
*    16Hp water cooled static diesel engine
*    Weighting scales
*    Bag sealers.

Spaghetti production from wheat flour and composite flour.
Ampia 150 Superlusso spaghetti making machine
Groundnut processing into groundnut oil and cake
*    8Hp static diesel engine
*    Groundnut roaster/scorcher
*    Hammer mill
*    Screw/hydraulic press
*    Filter
Yam processing into Yam flour reconstitutable into yam fufu or amala
*    Dicing machine
*    Blancher
*    Dryer
*    Plate mill
*    Impulse sealer
*    8Hp static diesel engine
Plantain processing into flour and chips
*    Slicer
*    Dryer
*    Plate mill
*    Fryer
*    8Hp static diesel engine
*    Impulse sealer
Fish and Meat processing into smoked fish and smoked meat production
*    Smoking kiln
*    Table with smooth surface
*    Cutting knife
*    Buckets and basin
*    Packaging materials
*    Hammer mill
Evidence from the field and beneficiaries' perceptions show that the NSPFS implementation has improved the productivity and sustainability of small holder agricultural systems with obvious improvement in beneficiaries' livelihoods, food security and socio-economic status. Strategies and approaches adopted in the implementation of the various activities under the Programme confirm the assertion that when productivity enhancing technologies and an efficient input delivery system are combined with dependable credit system and human capital development, farm productivity will improve, income will increase and farmers become empowered.
And in conclusion

I must state loud and clear that post-harvest systems encompassing primary processing within the farm-gate center and progressing to secondary, tertiary and downstream processing to add value and enhance market potential of agricultural produce are the critical prime movers of Food Security and agricultural change which in the present democratic dispensation in Nigeria dovetails nicely with the Transformation Agenda.

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