Food Science and Technology Education: The Panacea for Sustainable Food Security in Nigeria by Hannah I. J. Udota & Idongesit Y. Udoakah

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In the 1940s and early 1950s, Nigeria did not have to contend with the problem of food insecurity. The system was able to feed her citizens, and at the same time export the surplus food items. Every region of the country specialized in the production of one or two major crops, whether food or cash crops, and together the country was relatively self—sufficient in food production. Nigeria had the groundnut pyramids in the North, cocoa dominated the west, palm oil and kernel heaps in the East and the rubber plantation in the Mid-West (Davies,
2009). But when oil was discovered in 1956, exploration and exportation started in 1958; things started changing gradually, and later furiously. It was like declaring a holiday for hoes and machetes. As oil prices went up, interest in agriculture waned. This marked the beginning of decline into the abyss. The consequential effect of the decline like in some countries of the world, is the rising cost of food items, especially the rise in the prices of staple foods. Significantly, the price of rice has increased by over 100 per cent since 2006 (Jekins 8: Scanlan, 2001). It is instructive to note that Nigeria requires 2.5 million metric tons of rice annually while local rice production is less than half a million metric tons per year (Clover, 2003).

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