Why food security won’t make farmers rich.
Jun 24, 2020
Food security is simply explained as access to good food for all humans, food provides energy to carry out tasks and live the best life possible. The four pillars of food security comprises of:
The reality in Africa of today is that, we are still battling the first pillar of food security that we’ve not really focused on the other three. The complexities of making food available at optimum quantity for the African populace has ensured farmers remain strict beneficiaries of supports in different forms to increase food availability.
With each passing months as we approach 2030, food production in Africa seem to be taken giant leaps to the back with series of challenges popping up along the way, one of those is the problem of pest (Locust) facing countries in the east of Africa. Desertification remains a mooted topic, climate action threatens the continent’s ability to increase food production on a massive scale.
Rather than remain gloomy about our chance to attain food security in the near future, we chose to be optimistic and drew up our perceptions on how farmers will be affected after the achievement of UN SDG 2 goal.
By the time food security is achieved, small scale farming would have experienced significant improvement across chains. This means farmers would be using technology to undertake farm activities thereby ensuring less human energy is expended on the farm.
Food wastage would have reduced to near zero and low income individuals would not have to spend large chunk of their money to access good food anymore. This would make sense because there will be a general sense of well being across the earth, the food security era will feel strange for some of us who have always known the reality of food scarcity around us.
On how food security will affect farmer’s ability to grow wealth from selling their farm produce, let’s look at a little analogy; gold, diamond, metals that are used in production of latest technology, these items are expensive because they are scarce, base on the principle of demand and supply, that is what determines the price value of almost any item in the market (with other silent factors ofcourse).
So if everyone suddenly wakes up to find their tap gushing out raw gold, or diamond falling as rain; that means these precious items will loose their market value base on oversaturation of supply in the market.
Food security is likely to serve farmers this sort of effect, while it won’t be as ridiculous as gold rushing out of our taps; there will not be scarcity of food anymore, every human will have access to good food. So how can farmers ensure they don’t futher fall in status?
1. Farmers will have to pick up other skills like processing, distributing, storing and consulting.
2. Farming will have to be upgraded to agribusiness, it won’t merely be about food production anymore; farmers will have to be keen about data, research, price action and lots of other aspect of agriculture which are likely to be more rewarding in coming future.
3. Education! As new technologies are being debuted to aid food production, there is need to balance it with the human’s centric-ability to assess conditions, make decisions base on gut. This is one of the advantage of human over machine, so farmers will be valuable by aiding Machine Learning.
4. Has anyone taught about Farmer’s Museum yet? A lot of farm tools used in the 90s are no more in vogue now, but the milennials and generation X are picking up interest in agriculture, it’s only a matter of time that they will be willing to pay to see the old watering can or the hoe used by their great granddads.
5. Ofcourse, the use of machine on the farm means farmers will have more time and energy to learn something new, and grow; it means they don’t have to solely depend of the income from the sales of farm produce.
6. Invest in cash crops and forestry, cash crops remain a major source of foreign exchange but a lot of farmers shy away from it because of the life cycle of most of these crops. Farmers enjoy the gratification of short lifecycle crops they get to harvest and sell their produce in the shortest possible time they also shy away because they do not know how to play in the international space.
7. Farmers can also come together in groups so that they can produce on a large scale ad maximize the use of funds and resources.
There will be interesting times between now and 2030 as each country looks inward to solve the problem of food scarcity while keeping an eye on population boom, I trust Nigeria to surprise the world in terms of increased populations in comparison with what is being projected.
But however it goes; I implore every farmer out there to start working on the plan to modify their positioning as the future approaches us, it will come so fast you wouldn’t have time to react.
Set your mid free and explore other options, move out of your comfort zone. When it comes to making money, passion is not always the golden card so you have to focus on what people want and are willing to pay more for, it won’t be food by the time we achieve food security. Find out what it is, how to do it and then go for it.