Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. The four pillars of food security are availability, access, utilization and stability.
Recently, a popular agriculture enthusiast posted on a social media platform about how he has been dealing with religious thief on his farm, he went ahead to analyze the different kinds of thief he knows and the ones he have met on this agricultural journey. He talked about religious thief: the ones that uses different charm, red cloth and many more to scare people away from the land that is already bought and they want to claim forceful ownership or to scare harvest planted crops that does not belong to them or many times to harm the owner of the farm. He described some as smart thief, this being interpreted as those that steal farm produce smartly without any notice, he described some as hungry thieves, this ones are the ones that branch your farm and just pluck anything to eat. He mentioned the greedy thief, the opportunistic thief, the lazy thieves and many more. Nevertheless, all of the aforementioned thieves causes one harm or the other to the most clamored interest of all farmers which is food security.
As an agricultural consultant, eighty five percent of the farms I consult for have experienced the issue of the aforementioned type of thieves in one way or the other. Many times they have either been a report of stolen plantain, stolen potatoes or stolen pods. All of this reported stolen farm produce are always causing a decrease in profit. We often ask questions like; why is yam expensive? Why do we now have cow skin to be this expensive? They are many a times expensive because of the other unforeseen cost added by the farmer to make sure he or she breaks even at the end of the sales tunnel.
One of the major issues farmers face all the time is the issue of theft and unaccountable staffs, these issues can be a disaster, it can keep a farmer out of business and render a hardworking farmer powerless with time, this issue of security has cut off many farmers passion as they lost passion to do agriculture due to the lack of profit gathered over time. There are many security strategies that farmers have embarked on overtime, they have embarked on the use of fence , the use of prayers, the use of red cloth, the use of CCTV and lot more but which of this measure is more applicable and effective? Which one guarantee the effective returns on farmer’s investment?
The Nigerian farmers are also constantly faced with the issues of kidnapping, the issues of herdsmen overgrazing the farmland without any prior notice, many local farmers are victims of herdsmen grazing problems with no one to report to as community heads are fed up of the herdsmen behaviors.
Strategies that could be deployed include the following:
Manual strategy: This could be the use of employed security staff on the farm, this could be the use of fence (physical barriers), the fence could have some thorns to avoid goat and other eating mammals on the farm, this could also be the use of different biological control of predators to make sure the farm is a safe haven for the owners profit and crop safety. The manual strategy seems to be one of the greatest measures to ascertain security on the farm but never have proven to be the best, the fence can be jumped while the security staff could be the organizer of robbery to the farm, and however, the manual strategy seems cheap and accommodating for an average farm owner.
Technological strategy: The technological strategy seems to be the best but very expensive, many modern farms now have CCTV to monitor their farms, this device is connected to their phones and they can access the happenings on the farms at any point in time. Apart from the use of CCTV a farmer might have to make use of other technological instrument so that the farm can be kept safe, any technological device used that might be attacked by hackers should be insured, also password must be constantly changed so as to avoid different login’s. A security alarm could be created on the farm for the sake of other unforeseen circumstances like fire out break and sudden situations. In addition to security alarms, it’s also wise to install a system of safety alarms for smoke, fire, carbon monoxide and other potential hazards. These types of safety alarms give you early warning if fire breaks out, and can help prevent illness, injury and even death of family members and farm workers in buildings where potentially hazardous materials may be stored. Security tags that have the presence of a GPS can be installed on all equipment so that when stolen they can be recovered with ease.
Religious Strategy: Majority of the local farmers are religious enthusiast, they are either faith believing Christians, Quran believing Muslims or gods believing traditionalist. It is rare to find a local farm community without a red cloth attached to some of their crops. The farmers that could not easily afford the technological strategy would easily go for this (religious strategy), they find this as the best procedure for protection.
Government Policies: It is important government help to develop some adequate measure against security on the farm, it is important armed forces agent are deployed to some communities to not only combat the lazy thieves in the neighborhood but herdsmen that keep rendering farmers effort useless with time. It is high time to empower the farmers and multiply the farmers input so as to double food production, this is not the time to have decreased rate of farmers in the nation. Grazing policy should be passed sternly and followed up so that farmers can produce adequate food on safe land.