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International Journal of Social Science Tomorrow

Vol. 1 No. 4

The Civil Society and the Political Economy of Food Security in Nigeria: A Rights-Based Advocacy
Nwanolue, B.O.G, Ph.D, FRHD, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Anambra State University Mr. Victor Chidubem Iwuoha, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria

Abstract
The reality of human existence is highly consequential upon food intake. Therefore, food is life. In paradox, however, a considerable proportion of the Nigerian population is food insecure. Hence, as estimated, well over 65 percent Nigerians, languishing in abject hunger and malnutrition do not have genuine life at all in them. Obviously, the productive capacity of the agro economy has diminished dramatically. Critical factors such as human conflict, poor agro-based research, deforestation, overconcentration on bio-fuel usage, climate change, i.e. desertification/desert encroachment, flood, drought, erosion, etc, are major challenges. On its part, the government has flopped tragically in fulfilling its social contract with the people. No tangible effort has been gallantly invested in cushioning or addressing the question of food crisis in the country. Amidst these concerns, hereto, the role of the civil society becomes of utmost value in questing for elaborate food security in the country. Therefore, this paper adopts qualitative mechanism of data collection and analysis. We argue that the rights perspective to food security is germane. It is therefore the responsibility of the people to collectively demand their food rights from the leadership. As such, safety and relevant enforceable laws must be set in motion if food security is to be anticipated in Nigeria. Keywords: Food Security, Food Crisis, Civil Society, Agriculture, NGOs, Human Rights, Social Security, etc.

1. Introduction
Food is an imperative. A man without food in the stomach is like a balloon without air. Fundamentally, food is both relevant to human and animal populations. If so, man therefore needs qualitative food for social production ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 1

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and reproduction. However, as with most developing nations, food security has become a serious challenge to the teeming Nigerian population. The country is already experiencing various levels of manifestation of food crisis. Scholars have variously demonstrated and lamented on the problematic of food security in Nigeria and the cataclysmic effect such would portend for the country if nothing is timely done to cushion the effects. For instance, relevant studies have shown that fewer food items are produced and exported, fewer food items are produced and imported (leading to extreme food shortages in the face of abnormal rise in population), fewer percentage of the population have access to food, prices of available food items are damn high, and so on. Informative literature equally abounds on the unsatisfactory low performance of the agro sector, leading to the dangers of food crisis in the country. It is well documented, for example, that about 65% of Nigerians have been described as food insecure (i.e. do not have sufficient access to the amount and variety of food for a healthy and productive life; while about 40% of children under five years of age are stunted; 9% are wasted and 25% are underweight, owing to widespread deficiencies in Vitamin A, Iron and Iodine and general poor food lifestyle (Abubakar, 2010:9). Calorie supply per capita in Nigeria in 2007 stood as low as 2,741. Between 2003 and 2009, about 27.00% children were undernourished. While, between 2005 and 2007, about 6.00% of Nigerians were undernourished. Also, between 2004 and 2006, net receipts of cereals as food aid dramatically rose to 3,500 tonnes (FAO, 2011). In the light of these catastrophic food condition, thus, Nigeria recently ranked 20th out of 42 African countries studied on the 2006 Global Hunger Index (GHI); improved to 18th position on the 2009 GHI and 46th out of the 84 developing countries captured globally for the study in 2009 (Abubakar, 2010). However, the problem is both natural as well as man-made. Natural factors such as climate change, drought, flood, etc are major challenges. Human beings also contribute by the following: deforestation, overconcentration on bio-fuel (made from conversion of certain food items), environmental criminality and indiscipline, government failures, etc. It is obvious, equally, that climate change (desert encroachment, flood, drought, erosion), which the government has failed to tackle, impacts negatively on land boundaries or agricultural farmland, and that disastrously resulting to land conflicts of indescribable dimensions. By extension, land conflicts have ultimately led to colossal depletion and annihilation of human population, and in particular, a dramatic and acatalectic dispersion of quantum degree of the agro-manpower/population, churning out refugees everywhere and worsening food crisis in the country. These agonizing and excruciating food conditions and attendant human sufferings therefore demand urgent and collaborative rescue by the civil society in order to sustain the reality of human existence in the present and beyond. In this paper, therefore, genuine effort is put intact to investigate the level of food security in the country. Primarily, attempt would be made to reconstruct, refocus and redirect the seeming ineffectual roles of individual civil society organizations on food security towards a broad-based robust approach and advocacy by all and sundry. It is our candid argument that food security is the peoples right and therefore, the civil society must jointly stand tall and advocate for this right.

1.1 The Concept and Relevance of the Civil Society


Practically speaking, there are many scholars, a good number of them indeed, who have genuinely set out to say what they understood by the term civil society, but, very unknowingly, ended up saying only what civil society organizations are. As most analysts would accept, though, the term - civil society should never be mentioned in abstraction. Generally, there is this advisability and rationalization of the affixation organization to the concept. Perhaps, it makes better sense to mention or define civil society organizations, than just the civil society. In any case, both terms - civil society and civil society organizations may loosely command or imply the same meaning, but may actually have thin demarcation in understanding. To clarify issues, the Civil Society International (2003:1) stated that the the simplest way to see civil society is as a "third sector," distinct from government and business. In this view, civil society refers essentially to the so-called "intermediary institutions" such as professional associations, religious groups, labor unions and citizen advocacy organizations that give voice to various sectors of society and enrich public participation in democracies. In content therefore, civil society represents various organizations of the people outside the government. Or put this way: Civil Society Organizations (CSO) refers to a set of peoples institutions that inter-phase between the state, business world, and the family. Subsumed hereunder are the non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs), peoples organizations, Community-based Organizations (CBOs), Faith-based organizations (FBOs), civic clubs, trade unions, gender groups, cultural and religious groups, town unions, charities, social and sports clubs, cooperatives, environmental groups, professional associations, academia, policy institutions, consumer organizations, and the media (Essia and Yearoo, 2009:368). The civil society, as suggested, commonly embraces a collective of actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power. Civil societies are often populated by organizations such as registered charities, development non-governmental organizations, community groups, women's organizations, faith-based ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 2

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organizations, professional associations, trade unions, self-help groups, social, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups, etc. Further, however, the Civil Society International also emphasizes that civil society is the arena outside of the family, the state, and the market, where people associate to advance common interests. It is sometimes considered to include the family and the private sphere and then referred to as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government and business. Following this later explication hereafter, the civil society could broadly represent all sorts of non-governmental legitimate forums, groups and individuals found in a given society. One can directly say, in addition, that the civil society is the aggregate of individuals and nongovernmental organizations and institutions that are independent of the government, which manifest interests and will of citizens or organizations in a given human society. Ordinarily therefore, the idea of civil society may simply be attributable to the generality of a populace, inhabiting a given political geography. This broad perspective is germane. If for nothing else, the blunt understanding of this reality, that a collectivity of the masses constitutes the usually confounded concept of civil society gives everyone a fundamental sense and feeling of involvement, of a role to play in state affairs, as against the rigid and narrow traditional understanding of the concept which merely talks about visible NGOs. We shall return to this matter later. In Nigeria, the emergence of civil society movements is particularly motivated by human rights abuses and perceived economic mismanagement of successive military governments. The anti-people Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of President Babaginda, implemented in 1986, is a major spur in this regard. Mistakenly, earlier governments rather treated CSOs as enemies. More often than not, prominent CSOs were either rounded up and detained or banned entirely from operation. Usually, strict emasculating regulatory frameworks and severe registration processes that are designed to discourage rather than encourage their establishments were dished out. Inadvertently though, this rather boosted and motivated the spread and significance of civil society groups in Nigeria. However, things may have rapidly changed with the birth of democracy in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. Democracy has, in fact, fueled the rise and acceptance of civil society organizations in Nigeria. Incidentally, the present government in Nigeria desires to be counted among polished countries that are cultivating collaborative relationships with their citizens sectors. It is now reasonably and correctly presumed that, even though the government reserves the sole honour of designing and implementing its own policies according to its fashion and style, active participation of citizens-based groups in budget work and monitoring of public finances and implementation is very crucial. Among other things, the CSOs monitor and contribute in law making, budget making, policy making and general implementation. In other words, there is a relevant and complementary inter-relationship between democracy and civil society organizations. We may take it that without democracy, there would be no operational bases for civil society, and in reverse, without civil society, there would only be but a fake idea and practice of democracy. Primarily, the common thinking, as Essia and Yearoo concurred, is that CSOs ought to be critical of the state. Even at that, though, being critical of the state does not always require bitter confrontation. CSOs need some working relationship and cooperation with the state and its agencies. However, the relevance of civil society groups is to be better appreciated in the role they play in governance, which is maintained by a delicate balance. Particularly, in as much as compromise with the state in certain critical issues is desired and can be sought to achieve a target, a standing equilibrium must be established so as to inoculate the CSOs from complementing failures of the state. On this, therefore, Okonjo-Iweala and Osafo-Kwaako (2010) makes a good case for the role of civil society groups in a society. Accordingly, it is proffered that a civil society organization should bear clear-cut objectives. This would enable a more focused engagement with relevant authorities, rather than a tendency to pursue diverse, and in most cases, uncoordinated and focus-lacked activities. Technical competence is equally imperative. Technical competence should not be merely narrowed down to the amount of available knowledge of members on the organizations scope of coverage, but also information about the current governments financial expenses and budgets, as well as policies and projections in the area of interest. Effective communication strategy on advocacy issues, aggressive lobbying and pragmatic engagement of dialogue with relevant authorities must never be neglected. Above all, a periodic self-evaluation is suggested in order to avail the organization the opportunity to assess the potency of its operational modality and strategies. These are very important aspects of the civil society operations. Beyond that, the issue of funding is an important challenge to civil society organizations. In developing countries, like Nigeria, CSOs are more popular with donor organizations. The concern of many donors is that CSOs ought to be able to monitor public spending and make government address pressing needs of the populace. From the perspective of donors, effective CSOs are institutions and organizations that aid and complement functioning of government and its agencies as opposed to groups that promote excessive criticisms of state policies and programmes, and violent protests. The emphasis therefore is more on cooperation instead of confrontation. With this understanding, CSOs in Nigeria, as well as in other developing countries usually and easily assesses pools of project funds or foundation projects mapped out for development by rich ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 3

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nations, organizations and individuals. All the same, our interest here is not to further on the effective utilization of these funds. However, effort would be made shortly after, to articulate how the CSOs could be better repositioned in the campaign for food security in Nigeria.

2. Perspectives on Food Security


Food security is both a national as well as individual matter. Generally, studies in food security are more comprehensive and encompassing if evaluated from the two viewpoints. However, Chilsholm and Tyers (1982:5) concentrate their evaluation of food security at the national level. Thus, food security is perceived as the ability of countries to meet target consumption levels. The choice of the target consumption levels is perhaps the most important aspect of a developing countrys food policy, and it can be viewed under two broad frameworks. First, there is the problem of chronic and persistent malnutrition that is caused by low productive capacity and secular problems of poverty. This constitutes a long-term problem that can be overcome only by a steady continuing rise in productive capacity and the real income levels of the poor. The second problem is that of short term variability of entitlements of consumers to food. Food insecurity in this sense is ultimately a problem that stems from real income fluctuations that affects the ability of people to command adequate food through legal means. Venting this assertion is Eicher and Staatz (1986:16), who confirmed that food security, is primarily the ability of a country or region to assure, on a long-term basis, that its food system provides the total population access to a timely, reliable, and nutritionally adequate supply of food. Although, Eicher and Staatz (1990) later added that food security is related to both price policy and technological change in agriculture and is best addressed within a framework that takes account of the linkage among the various sectors of the economy. By acquiescence and conviction, Brandt (1990:138) concludes that the overall objective of food and nutrition security consists of three subsidiary objectives of central importance: increase in the availability of food, at least in line with demographic growth; stabilization of food, i.e., balancing annual fluctuations in supply; and improvement in the distribution of food to final consumer groups. Bigman (1982:13) vehemently held that food security is measured by the probability that the quantity available for consumption by poor consumers does not fall below subsistence level. It represents the ability of a country to supply the needs of its entire people at all times, now and in the future. The World Bank definition of food security takes a fundamental shift from the national, down to the household and individual levels. According to World Bank (1990:1), the term food security aptly covers a variety of access by all people at all times to sufficient food for a healthy and productive life. It comprises two main elements: (i) assuring the availability of adequate food and supplies, through domestic production or imports, and (ii) assuring the ability of households to acquire food, either by producing it themselves or by having the income to purchase it. In this sense, it is supported that national food security is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for household food security. In a related thinking Clay et all (1988:3) takes a comprehensive view of food security both at the macro and micro economic levels. They added that food security has two main senses: national and individual. At the national level, typically, it means the availability in the country of sufficient stocks of food to meet national need (however defined) until such time as stocks can be replenished from harvests or imports. At the individual level, it means that all members of society have access to the food they need, either from the market, from their own production, or from the public food distribution system (e.g. the ration system, or food for work). In other words, it is the candid opinion of Clay and his colleagues that a sort of government direct intervention in provision of food items in difficult conditions is highly desirable and imperative. In support, Calon (1990:19) maintains that food security is linked with food self-sufficiency and is measured by the ability of the household to secure its need for staple food and basic factors of production such as land and labour. In such instance, access to and land empowerment could equally enhance the probability of food availability at the household level. Hence, food security particularly makes proper sense if quantified at the individual or household level. More assertively, Olagunju (2011:29) aptly notes the following circumstances as a sufficient condition for food security: When the country can either produce or make available enough food supplies in quantity and quality required to meet the nutritional needs of its population for healthy growth; When the populace have adequate income to purchase or buy the food; When food is available in adequate quality and quantity all the year round; and That these three conditions hold simultaneously, i.e. availability, affordability, and stability of access. For Abubakar (2010:4), food security is determined by a number factor, namely: sustainable farming and food production systems, our circumstances such as the ability to grow, exchange or purchase food needs as part of maintaining livelihoods. In particular, the mix of ingredients that help ensure food security include: available land and water, storage facilities, farm equipment and inputs e.g. fertilizers, improved seeds and crops varieties, processing and packaging capacity, infrastructure, resource management arrangements, environmental factors ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 4

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such as soils and climate, distribution capacity, appropriate research and development activities, access to markets, money, credit and information, the nature of government policies, legal and political structures. It is therefore considered and taken that effective and efficient utilization of food methods is an essential component of food security. Hereunto, addressing food security requires comprehensive measures that integrate ongoing assistance in several areas namely: land reform; the application of new research, including biotechnology and modern farming methods, to increase yield and reduce losses; moderate market openness and trade liberalization; empowerment of women; stabilization of population; improvement of health and nutrition; education and technological training; and assurance of adequate safety nets for periods of adjustment etc.

2.1 The Food Security Crisis in Nigeria


By a simple logic, non-availability or insufficiency of food leads to food crisis. In the opinion of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) (2008:9), food crisis in a nation can be defined as a situation in which the masses of the people are faced with a disequilibrium in the food market, in which food becomes widely unavailable or inaccessible and unaffordable for more than two production cycles, during which there is a deterioration in food insecurity or a disastrous decline in food consumption, both in quantity and quality. This working definition is the driving force in the identification and characterization of key indicators of food crisis in Nigeria. However, as is generally accepted, food crisis is equally a situation of food insecurity. To be sure, food insecurity is a situation that exists when people lack secure and affordable access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for normal growth and development. It is condition of inactive healthy life. It may be caused by the unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power or the inappropriate distribution and inadequate use of food at the household level (Abubakar, 2010:5). Generally, there is a common knowledge, a harmony of understanding that agriculture is the bedrock of food security in any given country. Hence, we shall make a well directed attempt to evaluate the agricultural sector in Nigeria, especially how its (in)appropriate utilization has generously contributed to food security or food insecurity in Nigeria, as the case may be.

3. Evaluation of the Agro-Industry


In substance, the agricultural sector is central to Nigerias economy. In the recent past, the agro economy accounted for about 40 percent of the countrys GDP, providing up to 60 percent of employment. Way back in 1960s, for instance, Nigeria enjoys a dominant position in exports of key crops such as cocoa, groundnuts, groundnut oil and palm oil. At this period, Nigeria had over 60% of global palm oil exports, 30% of global groundnut exports, 20-30% of global groundnut oil exports, and 15 % of global cocoa exports. However, since the turn of the new millennium, Nigerias global share of exports of each of these crops had dropped hopelessly to 5% or less. Nigeria is still grappling with the serious problem of lack of adequate food, even though the country is abundantly blessed with a land mass of about 91.0 million, out of which about 83.0m hectares is considered arable and suitable for agriculture. However, less than 30.0 million hectares is currently under cultivation. The contribution of agriculture to the national GDP was about 35% for the period 2000 2004, while the contribution of agriculture to the non-oil sector for the same period was only 51% (NIALS, 2011). At present, Nigeria is no doubt one of the leading countries saddled with food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a net importer of agricultural produce, with imports totaling NGN 630 billion (NIALS, 2011). Large imported food products include wheat (NGN 165 billion), fish (NGN 105 billion), rice (NGN 75 billion), and sugar (NGN 60 billion). These rounds to a total food import bill of USD 4.2 billion annually. Nigeria currently consumes more than 5 million tons of rice annually of which at least 2 million tons are imported (USAID, 2011). By implication, poverty of food, hunger and destitution is pervasive in the country. About 65% of Nigerians have been described as food insecure (i.e. do not have sufficient access to the amount and variety of food for a healthy and productive life, while about 40% of children under five years of age are stunted; 9% are wasted and 25% are underweight owing to widespread deficiencies in Vitamin A, Iron and Iodine (Abubakar, 2010:9). Calorie supply per capita in Nigeria in 2007 stood as low as 2,741. Between 2003 and 2009, about 27.00% children were undernourished. While, between 2005 and 2007, about 6.00% of Nigerians were undernourished. Also, between 2004 and 2006, net receipts of cereals as food aid dramatically rose to 3,500 tonnes (FAO, 2011). Nigeria recently ranked 20th out of 42 African countries studied on the 2006 Global Hunger Index (GHI); improved to 18th position on the 2009 GHI and 46th out of the 84 developing countries captured globally for the study in 2009. Table 1 shows a comprehensive production and trade performance of selected food items in Nigeria, speaks volume of the vulnerability of the agro sector in Nigeria. The bleak picture in the table shown calls for a deep sober reflection. In content, the data provided loudly depicts that rice production lazily rose from 4,042,000 MT in 2006 to 4,179,000 MT. Maize only took a faint step from 7,100,000 MT in 2006 to 7,338,840 MT in 2009. Likewise, soybeans production toddled from 605,000 MT to 610,000 MT in 2009. It was however not so for wheat, which elaborately fell from 71,000 MT in 2006 to merely 53,000 MT in 2008. Exports of these food items equally suffered in huge dimensions, in favour ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 5

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of imports which filled the gaps. Remarkable, exports of these products nosedived appallingly between 2005 and 2008. Rice exports, for instance shrunk from an appreciable level of 4,368 MT in 2005 to as little as 46.00 MT in 2008. Wheat: from 31.00 MT to 12.00 MT; Maize: from 2,226 MT to 1,023 MT. To be reminded is that the agricultural production level which fell bitterly, that it could not even satisfy local demand, did not per se drastically affected exports of these products, as everyone would ordinarily anticipated. In contrast, imports fell beyond expectation within the period. Rice importation, as indicated above, dwindled from 1,187,790 MT in 2005 to merely 216,762 MT in 2008. The same goes for wheat, which slacked from a high point of 3,714,680 MT in 2005 to 1,132,180 MT in 2008. Maize dropped from 17,668 MT in 2005 to 83.00 MT in 2008, while soybeans crashed from 23,124 MT in 2005 to 83.00 MT in 2008. This shortfall in importation is never a good omen. The classical contradiction and illogicalities of extreme low production versus extreme low importation, that could not meet local demand, plus the paradox of geometric population rise (in abnormality and excess of 3 percent growth rate), rather makes the country a researchable case study in food security crisis. It bluntly shows that nothing tangible has been done to help resuscitate the collapsed and comatose agro-economy. Definitely, the focus on oil wealth has been the primary causality. There is no doubt, however, that the Nigerias agro sector has enormous potential with an opportunity to grow output by 160%, from USD 99 billion today to USD 256 billion by 2030. This growth potential comes from potential to increase yields to 80-100% of benchmark countries; increase acreage by 14m hectare new agricultural land, approximately 38% of Nigerias unused arable land of 36.9m ha; and shift 20% of production to higher value crops (NIALS, 2011). Sadly enough, these potentials are either overlooked or forgotten entirely by key managers of the agro economy. In the past two decades or so, successive governments have focused attention on liberalization and the development of other sectors of the economy such as oil and gas, telecommunication etc, at the detriment of the agricultural sector thereby resulting in a high food import dependent economy. The procurement and distribution of fertilizer has been hijacked by influential politicians who divert a large portion of it to the market at higher prices. The subsidy granted by the Federal Government thus ends up in the politicians pocket whilst the farmers, the target beneficiaries, are denied the benefit. The report of the NIALS has it that at the eleventh years of its merger with Peoples Bank in 2000, the Bank of Agriculture, which is supposed to help provide credit for the agricultural sector is still in the woods, as it has only achieved N20 billion capitalization as opposed to the N1.6 trillion it requires to meet the needs of small scale farmers in the country. There are key gaps in the agricultural financing value chain. Agricultural lending accounts for only 1.4% of total lending, and has declined since 2006. Besides, agriculture credit assessment process is poor. Only 21% of the Nigerian population is banked. About 63% of the unbanked population cites no access to banking as key constraint whilst 34% cite no access to banking as key constraint. This means that there is a low level of loan distribution resulting from insufficient infrastructure linking banks to agricultural zones. Moreover, there is limited bank footprint in agricultural areas. Only few Nigerias agricultural producers have access to insurance, as the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) has been able to insure only but a mere 500,000 producers. Most agricultural institutes are in a sorry state, as they suffer from decaying and obsolete infrastructure due to lack of adequate funding. Particularly, no practical strategies, as regards to averting the dangers and effects of climate change on food security, have been articulated or taken. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) (2008:5), food production in Nigeria was greatly affected in 2007 by three main factors: First, several states in the northern part of the country witnessed an unfavourable pattern of rainfall characterized by prolonged dry spells followed by an abrupt cessation of rains (notably in the far North) during the first week of September, when most of the crops, maize and sorghum in particular, were yet to mature for harvest. Torrential rains and flooding of farmlands particularly in the North Central Zone also resulted in localized crop losses. The productions of cereal crops and grain legumes (sorghum, millet, maize, rice, groundnuts and cowpea) which are predominantly cultivated in these parts of the country have been most affected. Secondly, productivity of cereal crops continues to be negatively affected in Nigeria by inadequate supply of fertilizers and improved seeds, as well as the poor timeliness of supply and distribution of agricultural inputs. Distribution of subsidized fertilizer by federal and state governments covers less than 30 percent of requirements. This usually disrupts the market, creates scarcity and leads to high prices. The problem was rather compounded in 2008 by higher international prices of that input. Prices of Urea and NPK went as high as NGN 3500 and NGN 3000 per 50 kg bag in 2007 respectively, and by February 2008 the average price of these fertilizers got up to NGN 5000 per 50 kg bag. Consequently, production of the highly fertilizer sensitive crops such as maize, rice and sorghum was adversely affected. Third, the devastating effect of avian influenza on the poultry industry during 2006 led to a drastic fall in demand for poultry products which in turn prompted a decline in demand for maize, which usually constitutes some 80 percent of poultry feeds. As a result of these negative developments, 2007 food production in Nigeria was significantly reduced. And ever since, things have not improved.

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4. The Political Economy of Food Security in Nigeria


Nobody would disagree, though, that successive Nigerian leadership have not put in place several policies, laws and institutions to shape and reshape agriculture in Nigeria. The problem, however, is that poor coordination and harmonization of these policies, that is, coherence transition from one regime to another, and the general implementation crisis have been the major challenge. There have been the Land Use Act of 1978; Operation Feed the Nation, River Basin Development Authority, Green Revolution, Agricultural Development Projects, Directorate of Food, Road, Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), MAMSER, Better Life for Rural Women, Family Employment Advancement Programme, Directorate of Employment, Petroleum Trust Fund and the National Poverty Eradication Programme, Infrastructural Concession, 2005; the Fadama Agricultural Development Project in 2007 (Goshit, 2009), and several other backup programmes guiding agricultural investment, food security, human capacity development and so on. An important factor of impingement, as noted earlier, is the poor attitude to relevant research and proper utilization of same. For instance, the overconcentration on the use of bio-fuel is a primary contradiction to the efforts towards food security in Nigeria. This confusion here is that while the government introduces high oil prices on one hand, it comes on the other hand to fund and facilitate research on alternative oil supply, such as the bio-fuel strategy, as a cushioning effect, and this affects agriculture. Higher prices for liquid fuels from petroleum increase the demand for bio-fuels, which may result in diverting some crops from food to energy. Thus, food crops and resources available for food crop production are diverted away from food to industrial fuel. This therefore, created competition among uses of food crops and resources used for their production with a resultant outcome of high food prices. In content, bio-fuel application is anti-food security. Bio-fuel, an alternative energy source is entirely derived from renewable supplies, through food substances, such as maize, soybeans, oilseeds, sugarcane, cassava, etc. FAO (2007) recently acknowledged that the growing demand for bio-fuel around the world will provide a substantial boost to the price of vegetable oil and raise the question of fuel security over food security, as it is already happening with sugar and maize in the case of ethanol. A pressure has therefore been mounted on the general demand for oils and fat thereby challenging the vegetable oil supply sector that was already experiencing high rate of growth struggling to meet the food demand. In other words, the rising application of bio-fuel method has caused scarcity of food, both for local consumption and importation. Most economic trees have been felled, and converted to fossil fuel, in an attempt to shortchange the perceived costly intake of premium motor spirit. A clear example is the falling of economic trees to fulfill desires for alternative source of energy. Again, there is land constraint. As aptly noted by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) (2008:9), the demand for bio-fuel has added to competition among the diversified uses of land for human food, animal feed, paper and cellulose production, other energies like charcoal as well as for other growing interests such as promoting biodiversity reforestation and preservation of native forests. As an outcome of this, conflicts and civil strife over land use have further affected food security in Nigeria. Many communities in Nigeria war against each other over land use and ownership. Hence, several people, farmers, have abandoned their homes and farm lands in the escapement of land related conflicts. Not only that, the geometric trend of violence in Nigeria, such as political violence, militancy, terrorism and Boko-Haramism, internecine and ethnic wars, have forced lots of indigenous dwellers away from their subsistent engagements. The implication of this oddity is that local refugees are compulsorily created, and as such, food must be made available to the affected population, which mostly constitutes the productive force. This generally contributes to food shortages in the country. It worth mentioning, however, that there is a positive link between natural disasters or climate change and land related conflicts in Nigeria. In most cases, drought or flood, for instance, has greatly diminished land borders, thereby leading to ownership struggles, and thereafter blossoming into full-blown conflicts. Thus, the general lackadaisical attitude to relevant research in averting climate change is a major drawback. Conflict begets food scarcity in the land. In such instances, the prices of the available food items soar high. The poor are mostly vulnerable. While the rich can easily afford to panicky purchase or hoarding of the available food items, the poor and less privileged in the society are usually abandoned to languish in hunger and starvation. Between 2007 and 2008, for instance, when the country witnessed a terrible climate conditions and subsequent violence of all kinds, the prices of food items went damn high. According to the report of NISER, the price of rice increased from N5,800 per 50kg bag between January and May, 2007, through N12,000 between April and May, 2008. Red and white garri increased from N3,400 and N3100 per 50 kg bag from between January and May 2007 through N4,800 and N4,950 respectively between April and July, 2008. Price of maize remained constant until April, 2008 when it increased to N40/kg while that of palm oil increased from N650/litre between January and December, 2007 before it increased to N700 between January and March, 2008 and later came down again to N650 between April and July, 2008. Table 2 shows that between May 2007 and May 2008, the price of Nigerian major staples such as rice increased by 107 percent and garri by 60 percent. The rise in prices of food has driven the general inflation so high that it rose from 5.4 percent in December, ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 7

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2007 through 9.7 percent in May 2008. Thus, purchasing power and level of nutrition of the people would have been drastically reduced. In connection, as NISER confirmed, not only has this resulted to the recent demand by labour unions for salary increase it has increased some social problems. For instance, cases of family instability have increased due to insufficient food and food allowance. The rate of juvenile delinquencies is on the rise. There have several cases where under-aged females, even adult ladies, force themselves on some men in quest for food, and this resulting to unwanted pregnancies. Too many unwanted pregnancies will futuristically cause population explosion, again, leading to food scarcity. Cases of theft in the farms have increased. Education is also implicated and impinged, as youths in some states have abandoned school for farming either to produce in contribution to feeding the family or to benefit from the rising food prices. The school meal programme introduced in some states could no longer be sustained in the light of what it costs to maintain and states that have planned to introduce the programme may be afraid of doing so. Thus, the existing high rate of malnutrition, under weighting, wasting and stunting in growth among Nigerian children will escalate. It has also been reported that some destitute homes could no longer take care of most of their inmates due to lack of food since they no longer receive enough from donors and donations received could no longer purchase as much food as they used to. Though there are no food riots and protests in Nigeria tensions are high waiting to explode. More importantly, there have been serious shortfalls between the demand and supply of major staple foods such as rice and wheat etc. Nigeria merely produces about 50 percent of these food items. The rest are supplemented by food importation. Obviously, for instance, what most of us now consume in Nigeria is foreign rice. It is not surprising, as earlier stated, that of about 5 million tons of rice annually consumed in Nigeria, more than 2 million tons are thoughtlessly imported. Only but a fewer percentage of the populace would ordinarily want to proudly associate themselves with local rice. And if at all there are proud consumers of local rice, definitely not from the propertied class. Never. The logical insinuation of this awkward trend is that the prices of these consumables keep pulsating and catapulting beyond genuine prices. Of consequence, the more the country is feebly dependent on importations of staple food items, to fill local demand gaps arising from irreconcilable vagaries in local production, the more the public taste for local food items is lost, and that for foreign food items fast appreciating. One do not know how else to explain this than to remind that, for example, if imported wheat, cocoa, rice, corn, etc are now generally preferred, then more of foreign finished food products made from these staple food ingredients would be compellingly demanded: semolina, baked beans, oats, cornflakes, chocolates, coffee, cheese, biscuits, etc. In effect, the local competitors suffer both deflection of customer patronage and serious price distortions and challenges. Most agribusinesses have been displaced by such instances and thousands of jobs lost. Upon these realities therefore, there is urgent need for the intervention of the civil society in addressing the rising food challenges in the country.

4.1 The Civil Society as Vanguard for Food Security: Towards a Rights-Based Advocacy
The right to food is imperative. The civil society, that is, the generality of the populace, as rightly clarified earlier, has an advocacy part to play. Peoples rights pertaining to food security and freedom from hunger must be comprehensively made known to them. In other words, the ordinary man on the street needs to be enlightened on his food rights. Even though we are very apprehensive of the enormous contributions and relevance of various civil society organizations in this matter, there is however need for every individual, sharing or persuaded into this intention of the British, called Nigeria, to be holistically informed and involved. To start with, does the people know that, as illustrated by NIALS, that the right to food is classified as a socioeconomic right; meaning a right to have regular, permanent and free access, either directly or by means of financial purchases of food that is qualitatively and quantitatively adequate, corresponds to the traditions of the people to which the consumer belongs and that ensures a physical and mental life, both individual and collective that is fulfilling and dignified, free of fear? The right to food equally includes the right to be helped if one cannot take care of oneself, that is, right to food aid. The right to food is firmly guaranteed under several laws including the African Charter on Human Peoples Rights. If for instance that in South Africa Government guarantees rights to food in its Constitution, and by implication an enforceable right, what stops Nigeria from doing so? Every person must have access to food either physically or economically. The right to food is a human right. Therefore, taking steps to achieve food security is not a political option but a legal obligation. Mere increment in salary regime does not address the issue of food security. It should be noted that such salary jamborees (or say minimum wage increase) preferentially allows only a percentage of the employed class to meet but short-term food demands, with the vulnerability of not meeting the long-term demand, especially when all other sensitive areas of the market economy must have absorbed and redistributed the same effect on its prices, thus impacting a reverse effect on prices of food items. Moreover, what of that teeming proportion of the populace that does not ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 8

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have jobs at all? Besides, such inconsiderate salary race equally means that a bigger chunk of the money, due to be honestly invested in the agro sector, is further diverted and languished in packaging corresponding jumbo salaries for law makers and other higher income earners that sucks from the government nipple. We put it to them that the politics of minimum wage is but a pretentious invitation for the aggrandizement of the emoluments of the political appointees and law makers, who would, afterwards, secretly review their take-homes upward. To be frank, mere salary increase is rather a cosmetic approach to food security. Therefore, let the government be compelled by the masses to provide adequate fertilizers and loan facilities to farmers, convert virgin forests and wilderness into arable lands, tackle desertification, climate change, oil pollution, erosion etc as these are some of the major problems of land and food security. The introduction of social security packages should be better articulated as a corollary of food security project in Nigeria. It matters a lot that there are too many destitute and indigents, who, in any case, are largely made so by dangerous and cataclysmic leadership failures. Thereupon, there is utmost need for the leadership in Nigeria to first of all, feel genuine guilt and blame for the condition of these hapless segments of the population, and thereafter appreciate their food rights, and by extension, their right to life and survival. If the government cannot appreciably and viably develop the various sectors of the economy in a simultaneous fashion so as to generate employment, then they should be able to make certain amounts of money available, perhaps monthly, for those who have been acatalectically distanced, discontinued otr boycotted entirely from the nipples of social production and reproduction. It is the obligation of the Government to support individuals who cannot adequately care for themselves by making grants to low income parents with dependent children, by providing medical care for the aged and indigent, and through social insurance programmes that holistically assist the unemployed and retirees. Let the Government be obliged to supply relief for the poor and help for the disabled. In this regard, therefore, the CSOs should ignite and stimulate the awareness of the general public, to stand and launch brouhaha, a public outcry, to advocate and speak out for the urgent introduction and passage of the social security law in Nigeria. By logical thinking, therefore, social security law is an imperative for food security in Nigeria. More importantly, the fight for transparency, accountability and due process in governance should be renewed with popular vigour. The point to be made is that misappropriation of public funds, either by way of corruption or reckless spending has a direct negative effect on the goal of poverty eradication. Public monies must be judiciously and sensibly spent or handled, in other to allow for tangible multi-sector development of the economy, creating necessary integrationist forward and backward linkages, which should in substance, address serious poverty induced questions of unemployment and underdevelopment. In relation, as reminded by Abubakar (2010:4), development of urban and rural infrastructures such as roads, basic amenities of life such as functional basic primary healthcare, electric-city, pipe-born water, functional farm service centers, create economic activities in the rural areas through establishment of appropriate cottage industries, market infrastructure schools and colleges etc, are equally of great importance. To achieve all these, Nigeria needs to stabilize her political terrain. There must be consistency in policy application, at least to a greater percentage, from one regime to the other. Conflict of policy administration leads to policy crisis and such retards or disrupts national development and human empowerment. The ultimate effect is that the propensity of food security crisis is never vitiated in absolutism. More human conflicts and violence of all kinds: political, internecine, ethnic, religious, militancy, etc, must be avoided in order to achieve a sustainable food security project in the country.

5. Conclusion
This paper made a successful attempt to evaluate the civil society and their role towards food security in Nigeria. The primary task of the paper was to refocus the attention and role of the civil society on food security into a rights-based approach. A broad conceptual perspective of the term - civil society was painstakingly provided and promoted in the reality of such understanding that the civil society is not merely limited to well known non-governmental organizations (i.e. NGOs) and other pressure groups of high standing caliber, but holistically embracing and encompassing the generality of the populace, ranging from the individual, family unit and beyond. This broad definition provided a sufficient framework to comprehensively advocate for the involvement of all and sundry in the vanguard for food security in Nigeria. Mainly, we argued that food security is a right for all, either physically or economically. Generally, however, we insist that the people should be at the fore front in the fight for food security in the country. A new thinking must be inculcated: that the Government is there to serve the people and that the people own the Government. As such, the desires of the generality of the populace must be met in line with the doctrine of utilitarianism. The peoples right for food should never be argued or denied any longer. It is reality. Let the various civil society organizations help sensitize the civil society at large about this factum. Letting the people ISSN: 2277-6168 June|2012 www.ijsst.com Page | 9

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know this would help place them in proper leverage to mount collective pressure on the government to cushion the effects of food crisis. Law makers should be prevailed upon to make and pass relevant food security bills in the National Assembly. Particularly, social security law must be introduced for the unemployed and underprivileged. The involvement of the people is paramount, as efforts at the individual household level in agrodiscipline and environmental preservation could preempt food shortage in the country.
Victor Chidubem Iwuoha* Doctoral Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Nwanolue, B.O.G, Ph.D, FRHD Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus

References
Abubakar, B.Y. (2010) The Role of Research and Development in Attainment of Food Security in Nigeria, Paper Presented at th e 2010 National Agricultural Show, Held at National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria Conference Hall, Nasarawa State, Nigeria, On 13th -14th October, 2010. Bigman, D. (1982) Coping with Hunger: Towards a System of Food Security and Price Stabilization. Massachusetts. Ballinger Publishing Company. Brandt, H. (1990) Food Security Aspects in Price and Market Policies for Grain-Based Food Systems of Sub-Saharan Africa in E.Chole (eds) Food Crisis in Africa: Policy and Management. New Delhi: Vikus Publishing House PVT Ltd. Calon, M.L. (1990) Population, Farming Systems and Food Security, Paper no. 7(E). International Course for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture. United States. Chisholm, A.H. and Tyers (1982) Introduction and Overview in A.H. Chisholm and Tyers (eds) Food Security: Theory, Policy and Perspectives from Asia and the Pacific Rim. Massachusetts: Lexington Books. Civil Society International (2003) What is Civil Society? Accessed online at: http://www.civilsoc.org/whatisCS.htm on 23/4/2012. Clay, E., Jones, S., Rahman, A., and Shahabuddin, Q. (1988) Introduction in Food Strategies in Bangladesh, Proceedings of a Seminar Held in Dhaka, on 8-10 October. University Press Ltd. Eicher, C.K. and Staaz, J.M. (1990) Agricultural Development in the Third World. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Eicher, C.K. and Staaz, J.M. (1986) Food Security Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa in A.Maunder (ed) Agriculture in a Turbulent World Economy. Baltimore: Gower Aldershot. Essia, U. and Yearoo, A. (2009) Strengthening Civil Society Organizations/Government Partnership in Nigeria in International NGO Journal, Vol.4(9). Food and Agricultural Organization (2012) Food Security Statistics- Nigeria; FAOSTAT. Rome: FAO. Food and Agricultural Organization (2011) Nigeria Food Security Report 2011, Accessed online at: www.fao.org on 23/4/2012. Food and Agricultural Organization (2008) Market Prices, Food Situation and Prospects for Benin, Niger and Nigeria. Report CILSS/FAO/FEWSNET/SIMA/WEP. FAO: Benin, Niger and Nigeria. Food and Agricultural Organization (2007) Crops Prospects and Food Situation in Nigeria. Abuja: FAO Goshit, Z.D. (2008) Alleviating Poverty and Hunger in Nigeria: Lessons from the United States of America in LWATI Journal of Contemporary Research, Vol.1(1). Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (2011) Towards Achieving Food Security in Nigeria, A One Day Roundtable Held at Abuja on 16th August, 2011. Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (2008) The Global Food Crisis: Impact and Policy Implications in Niger ia, Report Submitted to the National Fadama Development Office, Abuja. February. Okonjo-Iweala, N. and Osafo-Kwaako, P. (2010) The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Supporting Fiscal Transparency in African Countries: A Background Note for Discussion. Abuja: FMF. Olagunji, T. (2011) Global Climate Change and Food Security, Paper Presented at the 35 th Annual Conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN), Held at University Auditorium, Main Campus, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria, on 8th March, 2011. USAID (2011) Food Security is Everyones Responsibility, Accessed at: http://www.usaid.gov/food-security/food-securityeveryones-responsibility.htm on 23/4/12 World Bank (1991) Food Security in Africa: An Agenda for the 1990s. Washington D.C. World Bank. Table 1: Production and Trade Performance of Selected Food Items in Nigeria (2005-2009) Agricultural Production 2006 2007 2008 2009 Rice Production 4,042,000 MT 3,186,000 MT 4,179,000 MT Wheat Production 71,000 MT 44,000 MT 53,000 MT Maize Production 7,100,000 MT 6,724,000 MT 7,525,000 MT 7,338,840 MT Soybeans production 605,000 MT 580,000 MT 591,000 MT 610,000 MT Agricultural Exports 2005 2006 2007 2008 Rice Exports 4,368 MT 2,497 MT 251.00 MT 46.00 MT Wheat Exports 31.00 MT 15.00 MT 82.00 MT 12.00 MT Maize Exports 2,226 MT 3,666 MT 10,416 MT 1,023 MT Soybeans Exports 10,400 MT 11,500 MT 15,300 MT 15,000 MT Agricultural Imports 2005 2006 2007 2008 Rice Imports 1,187,790 MT 975,911 MT 1,216,967 MT 216,762 MT Wheat Imports 3,714,680 MT 3,244,000 MT 7,795,100 MT 1,132,180 MT Maize Imports 17,668 MT 9,612 MT 687.00 MT 49.00 MT Soybeans Imports 23,124 MT 23,124 MT 23,124 MT 83.00 MT Source: FAO (2012). Note: MT: million tones

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Table 2: The Prices of Selected Food Items in Lagos Market (Naira) Caprice Gold (50kg) Red Garri White Garri Maize (kg) (50kg) (50kg) Jan-May, 2007 5,800 3,400 3,100 37 July-August, 2007 6,400 4,600 4,900 37 Sept-Dec. 2007 6,600 4,600 4,900 37 Jan-Feb. 2008 7,400 4,600 4,900 37 March,2008 10,500 4,600 4,900 37 April- May, 2008 12,000 4,800 4,950 40 June-July, 2008 8,500 4,800 4,950 40 Source: NISER (2008:25). Period Palm Oil (Litre) 650 650 650 700 700 650 650

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