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3 August 2013

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Increasing food Security through Homestead Farming

Homestead farming is the process and the practicability of using small spaces behind your house, at the side of your house, on top of your house to do agricultural practices. There is the need to increase food production in this country.  Our demand for food and food products is too high than what we are producing.  
So, everybody should be able to do a bit of production by embracing the culture of homestead farming.

Scope of Homestead Farming
There is no big deal when it comes to the concept of homestead farming.  Homestead farming can be practiced at any level and at anywhere. Like at the back of your house, you can dig a size of a well or smaller than that and put fish in there and after six months you will marvel at what you can harvest.

You get your wife to throw away cooking water with tomato seeds in the back of your house and after some days you will see how many tomatoes plants can grow there.

You can do your cassava, okra plantations especially in the raining season when there is plenty of water for agricultural practice. You can rear some domestic animals like goat, cow, chicken, etc. So, homestead farming is that little bit you can do in terms of agricultural production at the home based level and a lot of people are doing it all over the world, in Europe, Asia and Americas. Some people even use the roof of their houses, put water in the tanks there and they go up there every seven days to rip their tomatoes, vegetables, cucumbers etc. You can do same in this country as well.

It is not at home alone when it comes to homestead farming. Do not mind the name – ‘homestead farming’ you can even get a corporate organization to use some of their plot to do agricultural practices. May be at the end of the month, staff can buy catfish, okra, garri and other farm produce. It is something that is being done all over the world and we can practice it in Africa.

Financial implications of homestead farming
Finance is one of the things to be considered when it comes to business or investing. How capital intensive is homestead farming? What is the level of financial commitment of homestead farming?  To be practical about this, it is “nil funding” at the start. All you need to do is a bit of labour intensiveness to prepare the backyard of your compound. The area maybe as a plot and throw your tomato seed in there and you see the amount of tomatoes you get after some days or so. So, it is labour intensive initially but near zero capital.

The reality on the ground is that most Nigerians don’t even have a space and the little space available, we prefer building a corner shop or something like a boy’s quarter. We also want to see what we can benefit or gain at an instant. But to be realistic, this issue is a fact but if the government is agriculturally and environmentally functional, before getting building approval, there should be a regulation that favours homestead agricultural production. Just a little space to do a bit of agriculture can go a long way to alleviating hunger in this country. If you do plantain, I do cassava, some people do okra over there, we are reducing that huge demand for food and national agricultural products.

The overall impact of homestead farming on the economy
By the time we put all these things together, let us say from Lagos to Maiduguri, Uyo to Kastina we all imbibe the culture of homestead farming, we would have produced lots of tonnages of food at the end of the year which will eventually reduce our importation expenses and at the end of the day, we are becoming self sufficient.

One of the problems in Nigeria which is food security would have been solved by our collective efforts.  We don’t have food reserve, in fact, we don’t even have enough to feed ourselves, how much more can we give to the factories, how much more will remain in reserve for future in times of harsh weather. 

So, by the time we get along with homestead farming practices, everybody becomes aware, everybody cultivates it, and then at the end of the day we are reducing the demand and increasing productivity.

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