Former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon, Abdulsalami Abubakar on Monday in Kaduna, advised the Federal Government to pay close attention to agriculture.
Also, former governors of Niger and Adamawa states, Babangida Aliyu and Murtala Nyako asked that Nigerians should take agriculture seriously.
They spoke at the 6th annual lecture of Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation in Kaduna.
The lecture was instituted in honour of the late premier of the defunct Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
Abubakar said the solution to food insecurity in the country was in mechanised farming.
The former Nigerian leader said, “We need to pay serious attention to agriculture and the agriculture value chain because there is nothing more important than food.”
Gowon, who was represented on the occasion by a former Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahaman Danbazzau (retd.), said the nation had a number of challenges among which was how to cater for the nation’s population in terms of food security.
“We have quite a number of challenges and one of such challenges has to do with population growth. There is also the issue of the girl child; these are very key issues that the north needs to look at with a view to surmounting,” Gowon said.
He said there was the need to improve the nation’s food production by 70 per cent in view of the expected population projection in 2050.
Aliyu, who is the Chairman Board of Trustees of the Foundation, insisted that food requirements in the world would astronomically increase by about 70 per cent of the current level of demand.
Aliyu added that in order to avert an imminent hunger and global shortage of food in the next 30 years, Nigerian farmers “must key into new and more result-oriented agricultural productivity.”
Nyako, who was a guest speaker, stressed the need for Nigeria to continually evolve improvement strategies to stem hunger or be doomed by starvation.
He argued that for farmers in the region to increase their farm yields, they must adopt new breed technology to increase every crop, cereals, legumes, grains and tubers as well as animal husbandry.
“Our farmers must be educated beyond traditional approaches to farming and food production,” Nyako said.