Food security exists when all people, always, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. (World Food Summit, 1996). Before COVID19, Nigeria was, among many other countries with food security issues. Factors include insecurity, food waste, climate change, funds, accessibility to lands, etc, all contributed to Nigeria food insecurity.
In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranks 93rd out of 117 qualifying countries, with a score of 27.9. As stated by Titilayo Adebola on “The Conversation”, about 3.7 million people across 16 States are food insecure in Nigeria. With the result of COVID19 pandemic a lot has affected food security and agriculture in the country due to Government measures which lockdown is one, been applied to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
As Federal Government developed emergency policies and appealed to Nigerians for more commitment in agriculture to address the food shortage. To ensure food availability and accessibility, different approach could be injected as part of strategy to harness the potentials in Nigeria 160 million populations to address the issue of food security now and in post COVID19. One of such approaches is the encouragement of home gardening practice in the country. Practicing home gardens is one of the easiest works and inclusive activities that many Nigerians can do to generate food and income while also contributing to socioeconomic.
According to Ninez 1984 formulated definitions, household garden is a small-scale production system supplying plant and animal consumption and utilitarian items either not obtainable, affordable, or readily available through retail markets, field cultivation, hunting, gathering, fishing, and wage earning. Furthermore, Marsh and Talukder (1994) and Zerihun, Weyessa and Adugna (2011), stated that home gardening provides a diversity of fresh foods that improve the quantity and quality of nutrients available to the family. Home gardens will no small way contribute to organic food growing, rural community development, create employment, and ensure safety of people from banditry.
Nigerians can explore from their home in generating food and income. Globally, home gardens have been documented as an important supplemental source contributing to food and nutritional security and livelihoods. With the tussle in accessing free land by smallholder farmers in the country, turning a small portion of home backyard creatively into the home garden for vegetables, poultry, herb, and other homestead crops will contribute to supplementing family food security in Nigeria. Home garden is one of the fun and engagement you can vest on irrespective of your position and location.
Godwin Adinoyi Jimoh
Communication Officer, Barns Connect.