A large network of self-sufficient and sustainable rural farmers contributing about 60% of quality foods production & farm produce output
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
This is a region of the country I understand its predicament, that I can relate with their challenges, and I grew up in. I understand their way of life, their culture, their strength and weaknesses. I know how to approach and effect the change I desire in the region through sustainable agricultural ventures.
I am also conversant with the agricultural potentials and the endangered areas that needs to be preserved considering the economic activities of the region.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
This picture is taken from somewhere in cross river depicting the rain forest and mangrove potentials of the region.
This is a major lake in Oguta somewhere in the southeastern region of Nigeria
This is the satellite image of south eastern region of Nigeria capturing its agricultural features
this is the map showing the states constituting the south eastern region of Nigeria, the major educational institutions and neighboring states
Southeastern Nigeria, is the homeland of the Igbo people. It is a cultural and common linguistic region in southern Nigeria measuring about 40, 000km2 (16, 000sq mi). Geographically it is divided by the lower Niger River into two unequal sections – an eastern (which is the larger of the two) and a western section. Its population is characterized by the diverse Igbo culture and the speakers of equally diverse Igbo languages. The major languages in the region is Igbo (Ibo) and English and also dominated by Christian religion and Odinala native practices.
Politically, Igboland is divided into several southern Nigeria States, culturally, it has included several subgroupings, including the Anioma,Ngwa, Abiriba, Edda,Ezaa, Ibeku, Ohuhu, Ikwerre, Ika , Ogba, Omuma and the Ekpeye.
It is primarily situated in the lowland forest region of Nigeria, with parts in the Niger-Delta. Here the Niger River spans out into the Atlantic Ocean in a vast network of creeks and mangrove swamps on the Bight of Bonny.
There are few variations within each ecological zones. The type of ecology and the rainfall trends in any particular region dictates the type of farming system, the people’s food preference and the pattern of the natural resource utilization in that region.
Igbo land’s culture has been shaped by its rainforest climate, its ancient trade along the rivers, migration, and social history within its various clans and peoples. It has been influenced by its ancient trading neighbours, allies, and more recently by relations with Europeans. It also has hills and rocky region which is mostly found in Enugu state.
Its local government is run by Autonomous Communities. Its highest elevation is about 1, 000m (3, 300ft) and as at 2015 has a population of about 40million consisting of the following States Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu and Abia; with its density at about 400/km2 (1, 000/sq mi). Each State has its own capital city and then local government areas constituting the each State and also there is a huge gap between the Urban and Rural Areas due to the level of development leading to huge migration from the rural areas to the urban areas especially by the young persons who are in search for greener pastures.
In south eastern Nigeria, Igbo people work mostly as craftsmen, farmers and traders. The most important crops are Yam, Other staple crops include cassava, Coco yam, Rice, and Taro. Other crops such as palm nuts, coco nut, plantain, banana, Oil Bean, Melon, etc are also common. Due to the presence of water bodies fishery and aquatic farming is also common.
The region needs contemporary agricultural education, practical entrepreneurial skills, exposure to innovations and developments in the agricultural sector to thrive and flourish because they also have a flair for being industrious, market driven creativity, resourceful and productive.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
- The rural women access to land is limited, due to lack of finance and cultural elements which suppress and place women in the inferior and subservient class.
- Low demand for the local agricultural produce except for manufacturing companies which sometimes set standards that the rural farmers find hard to meet due insufficient funds, and availability of resources and equipment.
- Insecurity as a result of normadic herdsmen activities in certain areas of the south eastern region of Nigeria by way of encroaching and over grazing on farms lands leading to huge loss for the farmers.
- Pollution of farm lands and water bodies through oil spillage and degradation of farmlands as result of natural disasters such as flooding.
- Initially the People and Planet Life Foundation food system did not include executing MoU whereby our beneficiaries pay a certain percentage as return on the investment capital overtime with which organisation will re-invest on the farmers for expansion or resolve unforeseen adversities which made our beneficiaries to be less profit oriented while some relapsed to subsistence farming. Hence, scaling up their commercial size became a challenge overtime.
- Policy incapacity, instability, and implementation inefficiency resulting mostly from the change of government as each new government alters’ the policies and renege from commitments.
- Non-competitive input –end subsidy administration system.
- Weak Infrastructural Base
- Absence of long term finance window for agriculture (Credit facility) and high interest rates that favours only the large established commercial farmers and out of reach for the start-ups.
- Weak market base due to over reliance on imported goods.
- Competitiveness as well as low sanitary and phytosantitary standards adherence by local producers. This means export activities low and raw commodity based.
- Due to over reliance on imported goods, people are exposed to synthesized and artificial agricultural products, which has led to the ingesting of poisonous substances by unsuspecting individuals.
- Poor agricultural technology and service delivery environment (inputs, extension, etc)
- Adaptation of technology is mostly found in the manufacturing and processing sector of the Agriculture. But this is rare in cultivation, planting, nurturing, and growing of the crops largely because of illiteracy, ignorance, in exposure, and lack of funds too afford it.
The future (2050) challenges that our food systems faces -
Fast forward to 2050 if the indices continues as it is presently the Nigerian economy will implode, the agricultural sector will collapse.
By 2050 the Nigerian Population will double, including that of other African countries, hence there will be overwhelming mouths to feed, and demands will sky rocket, there will be less lands to cultivate, if pollution of water bodies continues as it is, many species of sea animals may go extinct and fishing in waters may become history among other things. Thus, our food system will be faced the challenges of finding and adopting alternative methods of scaling up, farming and providing support to shoulder such challenges.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
“Rural poverty is a serious threat to food and nutrition security in sub-saharan Africa (SSA) and specifically in Nigeria, land degradation, caused by human-induced soil erosion, deforestation, over-grazing and other human activities, accounts for much of rural poverty occurring in Nigeria. Apart from external low external inputs, land degradation brings about low productivity in diverse ways…” according to the research publication by Ogunlela, Vincent, & Ogungbile, A..(2006). Alleviating Rural Poverty in Nigeria: A challenge for the national agriculture research system. Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment 6 (3-4).
Our vision is simply to change the above narrative by adapting and executing our food system to achieve zero poverty, create food security, constructive use of lands and it preservation. The beneficiary communities and region will evolve to become one the largest food producing region with advanced knowledge and skill in farming. They will be exposed to knowledge and expertise that will change their mentality and approach to farming and also preserve their environment by checkmating activities or practices that endanger their lands and agricultural potential . They will be financially emancipated overtime and grow out poverty. There will be increased economic activities in the region which will consequently bring development. Then most importantly they will become major contributors to food sustainability and advancement by 2050 or less.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
According to the research publication titled: 'A BACKGROUND ANALYSIS OF THE NIGERIAN AGRICULTURE SECTOR (1998 – 2007)' for OXFAM NOVIB ECONOMIC JUSTICE CAMPAIGN IN AGRICULTURE NOVEMBER, 2008
"The exploitation of the agricultural sector since the 1960s provided the main source of employment, income and foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria. This was due to focused regional policies based on commodity comparative advantage. The sector employed over 70 percent of the labour force, fed the population estimated at 55million and 60million in 1963 and 1965 respectively, guaranteeing the greater percentage of the food security of the average household.
In the same period, export of cash crops earned 70 and 62.2 percent respectively, of Nigeria’s total foreign exchange and contributed 56.7 and 66.4 percent of GDP in 1960 and 1965 respectively.
The dominant position of the agricultural sector in this period in the Nigerian Economy was therefore, not in doubt, the oil boom, heralded an era of decay and decline in agricultural output and in the overall contributing of the sector to the economy, evidenced by the dutch diseased...The agricultural sector which has been relatively stagnant at 3% growth performance moved from 4.1% growth rate in 1998 to 7.4% by end 2007. This was as a result of a renewed attention of the government within the period through various reform programmes that also encouraged increasing private sector entrepreneurial activities (but not necessarily due to the effectiveness of policy implementation in the long run) in agriculture positioned to take advantage of the policy targets"
The above findings is an evidence of the potential of Agricultural boom in the country Nigeria and also the fact that implementation of policies, methods and support systems that creates an enabling environment for the farmers will drive agriculture and food production to its peak again but this time it will be much better because of the technology and scientific findings for improved farming methods.
Thus, our vision is to revamp and resuscitate those factors, policies, and systems that made the Nigerian Agriculture and food production boom in order to create a regenerative and sustainable food system that can feed the entire African Region at greater level than ever. But this cannot happen without carrying the rural farmers along.