Don urges implementation of Strategic Food Reserves post-COVID-19 pandemic



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A don, Prof. Kolawole Adebayo, has called for the implementation of the Strategic Food Reserve Agriculture Policy to cushion the effects of food shortages post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Adebayo, a professor of Agriculture at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Lagos.

NAN reports that a Strategic Food Reserve is a government stockpile of food resources for the purpose of meeting future domestic and international needs.

The academic said if the strategic food reserve policy had been put in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there would have been no cause for alarm as regards food security in the coming months.

He, however, noted that the lesson to be learnt from the pandemic was to keep a constant food reserve in the country.

“Where is our food reserve? If you examine our agriculture policy, we have a provision for strategic food reserves but where is it? These Strategic Food Reserves should be located at the centres with large population.

“So, if we have a situation where farmers are unable to produce enough food, do we have the Strategic Food Reserves that we have saved before the virus and not when we are in the middle of the crisis?

“The lesson from COVID-19 is, if we survive,it is that we should have a food reserve that is able to last us for more than 180 days at all times. So, when it is about to go stale, we release it and restock.

“So that when we have the need to feed our citizens for six months non-stop arises, we have what is called Strategic Food Reserves.

“If we survive this safely, we should take the lesson from the story of the dream of Pharaoh by storing up food when there is surplus harvest. We do not have food storage in this country,” the professor told NAN.

Adebayo also called on individual households to adopt the cultivation of crops and vegetables in and around their homes to cushion the effect of the lockdown.

“In our small ways, let individuals also have their own backyard farms, the practice of urban farming is getting popular and in small containers people can cultivate vegetables with top soil around their homes.

“They can also rear a few chicken, if at least they have no money at least those few things they have can be bartered with other people and have some meals on their table.

“God forbid that food becomes another crisis in Nigeria and not just in Nigeria alone, even American farmers are already worried even though they are mechanised.

“Unless we are blessed with a quick fix on the pandemic, the future on food security does not look so bright,” Adebayo said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Peter Ejiofor)

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