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By Karen James
A professor of Soil Science at University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Charles Asadu, has described the food blockade by the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria (AUFCDA) from Northern Nigeria as a development that should drive everyone to the farm.
Asadu disclosed this while answering questions from News Echo on the solution to food scarcity caused by food blockade imposed on the Southern Nigeria by some Northern Nigeria foodstuffs dealers.
He blamed the shortage of food on the government and the people of South East who refused to take agriculture serious to ensure food sufficiency in the zone.
The Professor of Soil Science said governments of the South East should commit funds and infrastructure to develop agriculture in the zone.
The don explained that what works mostly for the North is irrigation, stressing that whenever one talks about irrigation farming in Nigeria, it is in the North one gets to see it.
In his words, “How many of our governments in the East have talked about creating irrigation channels for its farmers?
“Have you visited Omor in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State and Adani in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State?
“You will hear about Omor rice and Adani rice; I, myself was an undergraduate when the Japanese came to that area and the whole place was irrigated and began to grow large amounts of food there.
“But the whole thing later collapsed because no government was interested.
“If we have irrigation channels here working effectively, the rice and other such foods that will come from Omor and Adani and Abakiliki will feed the whole of South East.
“Vegetables such as tomatoes do well during the dry season than rainy season because of reduced pest infestation so if you have reliable water source during the dry season, you can produce all these.”
The don regretted that South Easterners went into trading and importation of goods rather than farming which could have fed the region’s population with ease.
Asadu urged governments and very rich individuals in the zone to invest in agriculture, as only then could do so without seeking early profit and make the zone return productively to agriculture again.