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Agriculture used to be the main stay of Nigeria’s economy before the advent of crude oil. The Eastern Nigeria had innumerable palm plantations that made palm oil a major export of Nigeria. It provided the much needed raw materials for the production of cosmetics and soap. It is on record that palm oil and other palm produce were exported in the 50s and 60s to Liverpool England through the sea port at Osemoto in Oguta LGA .Most of the multinational companies like John Holt, liver brothers and UAC had their office there at Osemoto. This is why everyone should support Governor Hope Uzodimma to recover the seaport through the dredging of Oguta lake-Urashi River down to the Atlantic ocean.
There were so many farm settlements in the Eastern Region then that endured adequate food production. Some big time farmers and some communities that produced yams never ate garri but pounded yam. There were equally so many rubber plantations and estates that produced rubber: which is a major raw material for the production of tyres and plastics in the region. The discovery of crude oil and the consequent oil boom of 1970s shifted attention from agriculture to crude oil as the major export of Nigeria. This progressively reduced the interest of people in agriculture and farming as a profession.

Currently, Nigeria is experiencing acute food shortage,severe hunger, starvation and crushing economic hardship that has turned many people into beggers and destitutes.The hunger in the land is so abnormal that recently seven people died in a stampede when men of the Nigerian Customs and Excise were auctioning seized rice.

Recently Some misguided people in a part of the country were reportedly turning back Trailers carrying food items like yams and tomatoes from proceeding to the south. As unpatriotic as it is. It is also instructive and a wake up call for everyone as no part of the country is absolutely independent and every part of the country is dependent on the other. God blessed the people of the south with very good soil and water at its seasons. Anything planted here grows very well without irrigation. If every house hold plants tomatoes and pepper within the compound for instance, by this time next year there would be surplus and the farmers will be exporting tomatoes and pepper to other states that need them. The Same applies to crops like Cucumber, potatoes, yams and vegetables.

Everyone in the south should brace up to the challenge of food production through aggressive agriculture.

Unfortunately, there’s a set back to achieving food sufficiency which is the menace of herdsmen and their cows.Some Farmers and their families have been chased away by the killer herdsmen who are armed with AK47 assualt rifles and turned their forests to hiding places where they keep kidnapped victims and corpses of those they harvested their organs.

It has become very necessary for Government and the security agencies to move into the forests and flush out those hoodlums in the forests for farmers to go back to their farms. Now that the planting season has set in, the youth in different communities should come out in their numbers and comb the forests to further drive away those miscreants who have turned the forests into a killing field.
Government should encourage farmers by providing them with high yielding seedlings, inputs and improved implements to farm. The Agric- Extension officers should be encouraged and equipped to go into the rural communities to teach the local farmers modern farming techniques to help them grow more food. This will certainly enable farmers to have bumper harvest and ensure the supply of abundant food items to stop hunger and starvation in the land.

Reginald Mbajunwa/INI.


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