From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
In a bid to overcome projections of food shortage in the year 2021, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, and traditional worshippers in Nigeria have urged governors in the South-West of the country to urgently adopt irrigation farming.
The Olubadan spoke at the installation ceremony of Dr Fayemi Fakayode as the Mogaji of Onibudo family at the Ibadan House, Oke Aremo, Yemetu, Ibadan at the weekend.
A group of farmers in Oke-Ogun region of Oyo State had raised the alarm that there would be a scarcity of maize in 2021 because of what they called a failed weather forecast, which they said made them cultivate maize and lose their investment to drought in 2020.
According to the traditional ruler, for Nigeria to avert food shortage in the new year, efforts should be directed towards mass irrigation farming. This, according to him, would help to avoid the effects of bad weather on planting, while farmers should also be protected from criminals that attacked and destroy their farms.
The native monarch, who was represented at the event by Chief Shina Olatunji Aresa, the Mogaji of Okiti Family in Ibadan, stated: ‘We should see that the time has come for us to realise that the way we practice farming here in South-West Nigeria cannot sustain us in food sufficiency.
‘The year 2020 food shortage projection by some Nigerians is predicated on so many reasons, ranging from bad weather, insecurity and largely poor funding from the government.
‘We can avert hunger and food crisis if the Federal Government can come to the aid of farmers and provide security for farmers; situations where farmers are killed and maimed in their farmlands, situations where crops were destroyed by cattle, will not attract young Nigerians to farming.
‘We are also using this opportunity to call on Governor Seyi Makinde to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Law of Oyo State to make the perpetrators of farm destruction and attacks on farmers have a rethink before committing such crime. This will also give assurance to those that are interested in farming.’
The Secretary-General, International Council for Ifa Religion, Dr Biodun Agboola, said the time was ripe for the southwestern states to collaborate in ensuring food sufficiency in the year 2021.
Agboola, a lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, said irrigation system only could put a lasting solution to the food crisis in Nigeria, giving an example of the full adoption of irrigation farming in Northern Nigeria.
‘As a farmer myself, I have come to realise that the problem farmers encounter is lack of good facilities and infrastructures in the farm and for the citizens to escape hunger, we must produce more food. The South-West governors should collaborate and evolve solutions to this problem.
‘They should adopt mass irrigation farming as a permanent solution to the food crisis in our region. They are already doing that in the North; their governors gave support to farmers, the Federal Government is doing the same thing for them through the federal agencies, we should adopt same.
‘We have Ikere Gorge Dam at Iseyin. We have Erelu Water Works, Asejire and others, which can be used to assist farming settlements along these areas to be free from poor weather and natural occurrences that affect farm cultivation.’
In his own words, the new Mogaji Onibudo, who until his installation was the Secretary, Traditional Religion Worshippers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State branch, Dr Fayemi Fakayode, thanked the Olubadan-in-council, led by the Olubadan of Ibadan, and the Onibudo family for appointing him as the Mogaji Onibudo of the Onibudo family, Oopo Yeosa, Oke Ayeye in Ibadan.