Imo Government Should Prioritize Agriculture Now

Nigerians and Imo people are currently groaning under the burden of daily soaring prices of food items in the market.

Prices of almost all food staples which  were  affordable  by  the poorest of the poor few years back, have gone through the roof  and out of their reach.

A few years ago, garri was a cheap and  affordable food stuff and because of that, virtually everyone could afford it.   But, today it is no longer the case, as it has spiralled  beyond the reach of the poor. A paint measurement  now goes for as high as one thousand four hundred naira, N1.400, while one  cup sells for one hundred naira, N100.

Beans, rice yam, tomato, fish and beef to mention a few are also  very costly and unaffordable for the country’s mostly poor majority.

The ugly situation on our hands today is  largely a product of worsening insecurity in the country.  The thirty six states in the country, especially those in the  Northern region are in the  grip of overwhelming insecurity which has lead to loss of hundreds of  thousands of lives and property.

Needless to say that farmers have been among  victims of  violent attacks and killings by Bandits, Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram.  Now and then, farmers  are slaughtered in their farms across the country and to escape being murdered  as their colleagues other farmers have completely abandoned their  farms and ran for their dear lives.

The direct consequence of that disturbing situation  has been poor productivity and attendant shortage of consumable agriculture produce. Of course, declining agricultural productivity in key food producing states of the Middle Belt and core North will naturally give rise  to  upsurge in food prices.

And because  Imo and other  South East States largely get their food from the  insecurity ravaged states,  it should not be a surprise  seeing them  feel the heat arising from  depressed production.

This  is exactly what is happening at the moment. 

However, in line with the Igbo maxim “.Mgberede yiri dike, Mgberede ka eji amadike”, adversity weighs down a man, and  also  proves  his worth ” many concerned citizens have thought South East States and particularly Imo should have taken steps to  turn the current adverse situation  into  opportunity. 

Indeed, the popular wish n Imo for sometime  now has been that the present adminstration should start prioritizing agriculture.  To all intents and purposes that is a reasonable and  justified thought because prior to the advent of oil economy agriculture was the major foreign exchange earner for Eastern Nigeria.

In fact, according to history as at 1964 under Dr Micheal Okpara Eastern Nigeria was ranked the fastest growing economy in the world ahead of Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. That mercurial run was made possible by agriculture and attendant industrialization.

Sadly, that positive run was truncated by the advent of oil economy and worsened by a trajectory of  vision less leadership which has refused to go away.

 Amid declining monthly allocation and growing hunger caused by high food costs, one is seriously persuaded that there is no better time than now to start investing substantially  in agriculture in view of its assured and proven capacity to unleash growth, development and prosperity.

Gov Hope Uzodinma adminstration should immediately  design and implement an  agricultural roadmap to catalyse the resurgence of that critical sector.

This is the task he should direct his energy and state resources towards to halt the slow and steady daily rise of hunger and famine in Imo.

Apparently, danger is looming in the horizon and since it is crystal clear that the only remedy to it is returning to  agriculture since its massive potential can more than  guarantee food security, creation large job opportunities as well as bring in badly  needed foreign exchange to drive growth and development.

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