| Share facebook | RSS


ambassador Report View

August Theme Report [Food and Water Security]

by Obadare Adenekan | 01-09-2023 03:31 recommendations 0

August Theme Report [Food and Water Security]

Food and water security are essential for human well-being, health, and development. However, many people in Lagos, Nigeria, face challenges in accessing adequate and safe food and water due to various factors, such as environmental degradation, population growth, urbanization, poverty, and climate change. In this article, I will explain the current status and the mechanism of the food/water supply chain in Lagos, the fatal cause and effect relationship between environmental degradation and food/water scarcity, and some technological improvements that could help to strengthen food and water security in the city.

Lagos is the largest city and economic hub of Nigeria, with an estimated population of over 21 million people. It is also one of the fastest-growing megacities in the world, with a projected population of 32.6 million by 2030. Lagos faces a huge demand for food and water from its residents, especially the urban poor who live in informal settlements and slums. However, the city's food and water supply chain is inadequate, inefficient, and vulnerable to various risks.

The food supply chain in Lagos consists of four main stages: production, processing, distribution, and consumption. Most of the food consumed in Lagos is produced outside the city, mainly in rural areas of Nigeria or imported from other countries. The food is then transported to Lagos by road, rail, air, or sea, depending on the type and distance of the source. The food is then processed in various facilities, such as mills, factories, abattoirs, or markets, where it is cleaned, packaged, preserved, or transformed into different products. The processed food is then distributed to various outlets, such as supermarkets, shops, kiosks, or street vendors, where it is sold to consumers. The consumers then prepare and consume the food at home or outside.

The water supply chain in Lagos consists of three main stages: abstraction, treatment, and distribution. Most of the water used in Lagos is abstracted from surface sources, such as rivers, lakes, or reservoirs. The water is then treated in various plants to remove impurities and pathogens and make it safe for human use. The treated water is then distributed to consumers through a network of pipes, tanks, or trucks. However, not all consumers have access to piped water or reliable water supply. Many people rely on alternative sources of water, such as boreholes, wells, rainwater harvesting systems, or vendors who sell water in containers or sachets.

The food and water supply chain in Lagos faces several challenges that affect its efficiency and sustainability. Some of these challenges are:

- Environmental degradation: The degradation of natural resources and ecosystems due to human activities such as deforestation, pollution, overexploitation, or climate change affects the availability and quality of food and water sources. For example,
    * Deforestation reduces the land area available for agriculture and affects soil fertility and water retention.
    * Pollution contaminates food and water sources with harmful chemicals or microorganisms that can cause diseases or reduce nutritional value.
    * Overexploitation depletes food and water sources faster than they can regenerate or replenish.
    * Climate change alters the patterns of rainfall⁷, temperature, or extreme events⁹ that affect crop production and water availability.
- Population growth: The rapid population growth in Lagos increases the demand for food and water and puts pressure on the existing infrastructure and resources. For example,
    * The increasing demand for food exceeds the local production capacity and requires more imports from other regions or countries.
    * The increasing demand for water exceeds the supply capacity of the existing treatment plants and distribution networks.
    * The increasing population density creates congestion and competition for land use[^10^] and increases waste generation¹¹ and energy consumption.
- Urbanization: The rapid urbanization in Lagos transforms the physical and social landscape of the city and affects the access and affordability of food and water for different groups of people. For example,
    * The urban sprawl encroaches on agricultural land and reduces the potential for urban agriculture or peri-urban agriculture.
    * The urban infrastructure disrupts the natural hydrological cycle and reduces the recharge of groundwater sources.
    * The urban poverty creates inequality and vulnerability among different segments of the population who have different levels of income, education, or empowerment to access food and water.

These challenges create a vicious cycle of food/water insecurity that affects human health, nutrition, productivity, livelihoods, resilience, social cohesion, peace, and development. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address these challenges by adopting some technological improvements that could help to strengthen food and water security in Lagos. Some of these improvements are:

- Improved agricultural practices: The adoption of improved agricultural practices, such as conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, agroforestry, or precision agriculture, could help to increase food production, reduce environmental impacts, and enhance adaptation to climate change. For example,
    * Conservation agriculture involves the use of minimum tillage, crop rotation, and cover crops to improve soil health and water retention.
    * Integrated pest management involves the use of biological, cultural, or mechanical methods to control pests and diseases without relying on chemical pesticides.
    * Agroforestry involves the integration of trees and crops to create diverse and productive systems that provide multiple benefits, such as food, fuel, fodder, or shade.
    * Precision agriculture involves the use of sensors, drones, or satellites to monitor crop conditions and apply inputs such as water, fertilizer, or pesticides in a precise and efficient manner.
- Improved water management: The adoption of improved water management practices, such as rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, water reuse, or desalination, could help to increase water availability, reduce water losses, and enhance water quality. For example,
    * Rainwater harvesting involves the collection and storage of rainwater from roofs or other surfaces for domestic or agricultural use.
    * Drip irrigation involves the delivery of water directly to the roots of plants through pipes or tubes with small holes or emitters.
    * Water reuse involves the treatment and reuse of wastewater for non-potable purposes, such as irrigation, industrial processes, or toilet flushing.
    * Desalination involves the removal of salt and other minerals from seawater or brackish water to produce freshwater for drinking or other uses.
- Improved food processing: The adoption of improved food processing technologies, such as solar drying, cold storage, fortification, or biotechnology, could help to increase food preservation, reduce food losses, and enhance food quality. For example,
    * Solar drying involves the use of solar energy to dry food products such as fruits, vegetables, or fish to extend their shelf life and reduce their weight and volume.
    * Cold storage involves the use of refrigeration or freezing to preserve food products such as meat, dairy, or eggs to prevent spoilage and maintain their freshness and nutritional value.
    * Fortification involves the addition of micronutrients such as vitamins or minerals to food products such as flour, oil, or salt to improve their nutritional value and prevent deficiencies.
    * Biotechnology involves the use of genetic engineering or modification to create new varieties of crops or animals that have desirable traits such as higher yield, pest resistance, or drought tolerance.

These technological improvements could help to strengthen food and water security in Lagos by increasing the quantity and quality of food and water available for consumption, reducing the environmental impacts of food and water production and consumption, and enhancing the resilience of food and water systems to shocks and stresses. However, these improvements also require adequate policies, institutions, investments, capacities, and participation from various stakeholders to ensure their effective implementation and equitable distribution. Therefore, a holistic and integrated approach is needed to address the complex and interrelated challenges of food and water security in Lagos.


Obadare Adenekan

  • Nigeria Former E-gen Ambassador Obadare Adenekan
  • recommend


Post a comment

Please sign in