Why Nigeria Suffers Food Scarcity, Low Agric Export – Ex-Gov Obong Attah
By Obiabin Onukwugha
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, has disclosed why Nigeria is experiencing food scarcity and unable to export her agricultural produce.
Obong Attah, who is a renowned Architect and consummate farmer, was Governor of Akwa Ibom State at the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999, and he served two terms until 2007.
The Governor granted exclusive interview to the Publisher of NatureNews, Aliu Akoshile, on the sideline of a courtesy visit at his residence in Uyo by elder statesmen and veteran publishers, Uncle Sam Amuka, and Chief Segun Osoba who was Governor of Ogun State.
Obong Victor Attah, who turned 85 years on Monday, November 20, attributed Nigeria’s food insecurity to lack of solution-based research and development (R&D).
He said Nigeria was unable to develop preservative methods despite producing quality crops that could compete favourably with those of other countries.
“The R&D is lacking and even missing completely. I’m eating these strawberries now. If I don’t finish the strawberries in the next two days, they will spoil”, he said, adding that “everywhere else, people have managed to develop means of preserving fruits so they don’t spoil”.
“I have to remind you of this: there was the issue of some exported yams that were condemned and rejected by the importers abroad. Simple method of preservation to transport the yam, we will not learn. Our fish that we catch, we don’t know how to preserve it, how to tane it, how to smoke it or whatever.
“And luckily for us too, we are not using so much chemicals as they use abroad. So our food is even preferred. These strawberries I’m eating are far, far superior in flavour and taste to what you get in Europe and if we will find a way of exporting it they will eat our own sooner than they will eat their own.
The former Governor said: “Packaging is also quite important. You have to package it nicely so that it becomes attractive to the people because there’s always competition. However good your own is, somebody might prefer what looks better than yours even though it may not be nearly as good.”
Governor Attah, who noted that research and proper packaging will help our agricultural produce, explained that, “when we do that we will have clear methods of preservation. We have to preserve and begin to export, and we shouldn’t listen to detractors.”
Upcoming: Obong Victor Attah speaks on Wike and Abuja Masterplan, insecurity, tourism and public infrastructure in Nigeria. It is revealing. Read it in NatureNews on Wednesday, November 22.