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ADDRESSING FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION IN THE CONTEXT OF CHANGING RURAL - URBAN DYNAMICS EXPERIENCES AND EFFECTIVE POLICY APPROACHES.
The truth is that , there are large number of unemployed graduate in my country Nigeria, not only young people, it has been extended to women also, lot of people are migrating from rural areas to urban areas. These facts has contributed to the reduction / lack of food and agricultural products in the rural - urban areas.
- There is need to go back to the basis : This can be achieved by starting an awareness from urban centre, register unemployed graduate for three days programme in which the training will be based on orientation, implementation of how to become a successful farmer. Well packaged educative programme in all what it takes, the commitment and technological how to become a "successful farmer". The profit margin for the next three years also have to be well explain and the uses of modern technology equipment e.g tractors, fertiliser e.t.c will be overemphasised.
- A lot of young people will definitely registered, test will be carried out based on the lectures delivered to them, but only successful candidate will go to the next level.
- It has to be spelt out that whatever money spent initially from the onset of the project, ranging from leasing of the land to harvesting period shall be paid back.
- They shall also be introduced to cooperative society within the farmers associations that will give them a lot of benefits to become a standard international farmer.
The next step will be setting up a semi scale processing units for some products: training will be undertaken to enable individual farmers know the procedure for production, so as to have ability to preserve the agricultural products.
- Yam to yam flour for amala and pounded yam flour as well.
- Cassava to gaari, cassava flour.
- Rice to rice flour.
- Pepper to dried ground chill pepper.
- Ginger to dried ground ginger.
- Garlic to dried ground garlic.
- Melon .....
Another level is the introduction of additives, vitamins, supplements for replacement of loss nutrients during production process.
Packaging systems also have to be introduced .....
Another, step is the introduction of course to learn, labelling , nutritional facts, for required standard , for exportation.
All these methods can also be used for rural women.
After many years of the cooperative has been in existence, the group can come together to buy tractor, equipment and ice friends system to make exportation of freshly plucked agricultural products possible and long preservation of the fresh products from farm. This ice friend system with the use of generating set and attached to a truck for easy movement.
Call for experiences and effective policy approaches in addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics
Let me start by making a reference to an article written in Gurdian news paper in my country Nigeria, with this link. https://guardian.ng/opinion/mangoes-are-out/
This article is about Mango fruit that in season now, before you know it, let's say in about three months time you might not find it anywhere across the nation Nigeria again.
This is one of the major problem associated with agriculture in this country, Africa is not poor, it is only poorly managed. This statement is very correct.
According to the above news link, Mangoes-are-out now in Nigeria, but most of these Mangoes will begin to loose its original taste, nutritional content and also become waste due to lack of preservation and storage medium required. It is actually difficult to have preservation and storage facilities in Nigeria without having constant supply of electricity power in place in most African countries especially the rural areas.
The problem is so enormous, so therefore, government cannot solve all this problems at once and all alone. Many a time, government will set up panels to look into the problem of food security in most nation, but all their finding is to no avail.
We cannot move forward in not having good knowledge of food processing, preservation and storage.
In the rural areas we can set up medium scale processing factories that will be beneficiary to the women and the youth and this will also help to stop crop deterioration and high prices of food crops. When food processing centre with good quality control in practice is in existence, this will automatically stop the wastage and we can have food both in season and out of season.
Lack of food preservation and storage is mainly responsible for high cost of food in rural-urban areas. Especially in Africa, the former central bank of Nigeria, governor Sanusi said it in a video interview and a newspaper that 65%of tomatoes that is being growing in the northern part of the country always goes to waste due to lack of proper preservation and storage. This tomatoes can be converted or process into tomato pulp e.g. ketchup or tomato paste and the processing is very simple, instead of allowing the farmers to carry every thing out of their farms and deteriorate. The youth and women can undertake little training of less than three weeks and start the production with little aids of materials for production like pet bottles and cover.
Okros can be harvested and well grated under a good hygienic condition and well sealed and preserve also. It can also be sliced and dried in an oven or even sun dried following a good quality control process. Same with palm fruit which can first be converted to palm oil and the nut can also be converted to both refined and unrefined palm kernel oil and be wll preserved. Even the waste from it can be used for the production of animals feed.
Lack of agricultural crops preservation and storage in all rural-urban area is responsible for not been able to export our farm products to other parts of the world. There is need for refriend ice system to keep the food crop immediately it is being harvested, because it must contain the same amount of nutritional content from harvesting point to the delivery point. With a required temperature for particular food products. The income that our farmers will make from this alone will be much appreciated and better than what oil and gas will be giving.
In my own opinion, this refriend ice system is now available with the use of generating set, if this can be provided for the farmers in certain areas and help them form a cooperative so they can know how to contribute and pay back, this will provide a lot of job opportunity for our youths. As times goes on the engineers that doesn't have job in the city can be well trained in the construction of this refriend ice system.
Once we have more than enough of this refrigerator system, the wastage of farm products will be eradicated in all rural areas and farmers can make more than enough profit and food can also be processed to extend their shelf life by this there will be food security in the nation and also food nutritional content will be adequately preserved. Thank you.