By: Wuraola Adebola, M.S.
I believe food security is having a consistent access to safe, locally, culturally acceptable, and affordable food all year round. Growing up as a child in my community, most families did and do not even have the hope of where their next meal is coming from. This is a result of that most families live from hand to hand and depend on other rich relatives living and working in urban settings. The majority of farmers today in Nigeria communities are faced with so many challenges, such as droughts, extreme temperature, livestock health related issues and socio-economic crises. As a result, they are abandoning farming in search for jobs cities, while leaving the women to cater and source for the needs of the family. Yet, the bulk of the agricultural produce comes from the rural communities in my country, which are then transported to the urban centers to be marketed for their means of income. But lack of adequate knowledge on improved farming techniques has discouraged continuity in local and rural farming. For example, in regards to animal agriculture there has been low supply of animal protein among our rural dwellers and community due to frequent mortality of the flocks that plague most producers. Thus, resulting in the majority of household diets are being composed of starchy or carbohydrate-rich foods and consequently leading to malnutrition in children and women in the community.
Since most rural men are abandoning agricultural businesses to other businesses such as transportation, construction or factory jobs that can fetch them daily or weekly pay, I now see the reason why we should encourage our women to take up the challenge of backyard farming. This will ensure secure food and availability of animal-based protein to themselves and their children all year round. Due to this shift of female only households, I realized that it will be of a great importance if the status of women in our communities can be raised. For instance, I have seen instances where a woman was able to cater for the needs of her family and her children’s school fees from the minimal income, she makes from her egg farming business. Most women play vital and important roles in the production and food availability in their homes, but their efforts are often underestimated in majority of our communities but their contribution to household food production is huge and cannot be overlook. I believe that if women can become empowered if they are provided with some basic training in livestock husbandry, nutrition, and health. It is also vital for them to develop a mixed agriculture system consisting of gardening, crops, and rearing of small ruminant animals and other livestock. It is critical that they also have access locally available feed ingredients to not only support livestock production to stop protein deficient diets and malnutrition in their communities. Ultimately resulting in a better livelihood for themselves and ensuring food security for their families and their communities.
My mission and future goal are to one day have access to financial resources to help the hardworking women in my country to become food secure. I want to explore the area where micro credit provision can utilize to establish self-help groups to promote animal agriculture, while providing proper trainings to ensure sustainable livestock production. But ultimately to help my fellow women and future generations to thrive in Nigeria and end malnutrition once and for all.
Editor’s Note: Wuraola is a bright and talented young lady. We all talk about food security for 2050 but Wuraola wants to change the narrative for her people today. She cannot do it alone, so please consider sponsoring her doctorate program in animal nutrition. If you can support her dream of a better tomorrow, please reach out to The Sunswine Group.