As Nigeria grapple with high cost of foodstuff, stakeholders have unveiled a project christened ‘Let Us Give Agriculture A Voice’, LUGAVO, to galvanize food production and food security.
Speaking about the essence of LUGAVO, the Initiator and Director General, LUGAVO CO-OP/Ventures, Halima Njobdi, explained that it stands for advocacy and investment in agriculture.
According to Njodi, looking at agriculture today the level at which it is remains abysmal and not really encouraging as it is not what it supposed to be, but with the move the narrative will change.
She said: “LUGAVO is an acronym which means ‘Let Us Give Agriculture a Voice’, which stands for advocacy and investment in agriculture”.
“We intend to send the message because looking at terrain what agriculture is today it is not what it supposed to be”.
“Money is being pumped into agriculture and these are things that really worried the late National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Chief Femi Coker, I happens to be the National Woman Leader of All Farmers Association of Nigeria outgoing”.
“Agriculture itself, the way is being played is like giving agriculture lip-service.
He was concerned with the travels and so much money given, overseas and exchange trips, and some of these things after long trips coming back are not implemented, and these impacts are not felt”.
“And he was of the opinion; what can we do, how do we reach the youths, and how do we bring them? So that is the bottom-line and how it came about, ‘Let Us Give Agriculture A Voice’.
“His wish before he left we are working on so many templates readily available for implementation in terms of processing, packaging, and marketing to keep the youths busy”.
“Besides that we have identified each State with a produce, and is three area local government councils; one is redemption centre where we collate this farm produce; two we have the processing centre; and third, we have the packaging and the market to keep the state vibrantly busy.
However, according to her bone of contention that LUGAVO is having is to access these local areas, but have proffered solution to it which is called Agric Farm Houses.
“We came up with the Agric Information Houses, which is going to be a building managed by whoever that is responsible will take part of it and be in charge of that area when it comes to do with anything agriculture for the purpose of keeping our veterans busy, creating jobs for our youths, and creating avenues for those in service looking for survival”, she said.
Speaking on rejection of Nigerian agric produce, she said, “This is the reason why we are talking about the Agric Information Houses.
Is like you have an office within your vicinity then you will know what to do.
Majority of farms in the local government areas do not what to do”.
“To apply fertilizer they do not know the quantity required, and that is why we are at the advocacy side and at the same time the Agric Houses somebody will be in charge to pass this message to smallholder farmers”.
“We have to start form the bottom to the top, and we have investors both internal and external, who want to invest in agriculture and we can’t do it with the farmers in the urban areas but at the rural areas and that is what we are doing.
Also speaking was the Sole Administrator, LUGAVO Group, General Lonsdale Adeoye (Retd), who pointed that the project will bring on board all sectors, and also basically to increase food production that would would tackle poverty, health challenges and stop challenges of social vices.
According to Adeoye, late Chief Coker who was National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, brought about LUGAVO to promote agriculture not only for the food but for revenue earning are of our polity, creating jobs for the youths, taking Nigerians away from going to hospitals frequently.
He said: “But the emphasis should be on what we eat for good health that we can get readily around us with all the resources we have and spend less on drugs, and also to keep peace and prevent our youths from social vices including cybercrime, ritualism, cultism and terrorism.
He also cautioned that, “Even our population is increasing, and lack of feeding will be a problem and if we don’t take care of it now by 2030 we cannot stand it and this is the time to tackle it”.
“The economies around the world are shaking and Africa is the centre of raw materials.
These foreign investors are making our garri and bitter-leaf and sending back to us, and what our youths do? What we are doing is to go to the grassroots and everybody is all involved including food security.
Stakeholders Unveil LUGAVO To Galvanize Food Production