Ben Ekanikpong

Ben Ekanikpong

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This blogpost is a follow up of ACHIEVING QUANTUM LEAP ON FOOD SAFETY IN NIGERIA LEVERAGING ENABLING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES

Co-ops, farmers and agri-food supply chain presently rely on paper-based records, verbal promises and complicated agreements; this frequently causes critical problems due to lack of transparency, restricted access to data or price barriers to this data, graft and corruption. With rapid urbanization, cities need to keep food safety and sustainable food systems planning high on their agenda. Today, half of the world’s population lives within three hours of a small city and town or on only three percent of the Earth’s surface. By 2050, this number is expected to increase to 60 percent. This means that the issues of food safety, food production and distribution will take on even greater importance in strategic discussions on sustainable development and growth. No matter how much our world continues to evolve and challenge us, the greatest danger is that we fail to protect and safeguard our food systems. It is paramount that we find sustainable ways to cultivate, produce and consume safe and healthy foods while preserving our planet’s resources.

Nigeria is expected to be the 3rd most populous country in the world by the end of the century, according to the UN. Over 50 million urban Nigerian dwellers demand more information about food, reflecting the need for more transparency. Globally, over 420,000 people die and some 600 million people – almost one in ten – fall ill after eating contaminated food. In fact, foodborne hazards are known to cause over 200 acute and chronic diseases from digestive tract infections to cancer (FAO Report).  With food regulating bodies such as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) etc. inability to regulate farm practices, most food consumers at restaurants and cafeterias also cast doubt on how food is grown and prepared.

In Africa, innovators have develop technologies, few of which are adopted by smallholder farmers. A technology that demands significant additional inputs, be they financial or physical, is less likely to be adopted compared to one that generates significant socioeconomic benefits. In Nigeria, smallholder farmers’ food security is under threat due to declining soil fertility, high cost of fertilizer, fragmented supply chain and poor access to commodity markets. These underlines the reason El-kanis and Partners is exploring affordable technology to improve food production and market accessibility for agricultural sustainability.

Africa has been involved in farming for centuries, but sadly still have one of the highest number of starving population. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the U.N., some 153 million people (about 26 percent of the adult population) suffered from severe food insecurity in 2014/15 in sub-Saharan Africa.

For Africa to feed her teaming population, farmers must produce as much per acre as it can, decrease the threat of crop failure, decrease operational costs, and sell crops for the maximum value possible. This necessitates, among other things, effectually managing of input resources like fertilizer, water, and seed quality and reducing the impact of changeable variables (such as the climate and pests). Accomplishing this aim is far from mere thinking and policy formulation.

This is where the El-kanis Digital Agriculture Service can help.