The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has called for caution over the planned investment by the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the Ogun State Agro Processing Zone.
Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, said: “This plan could harshly affect the access to farmland and the livelihoods of Ogun State people. It may simply turn out to be a massive land grab and will subvert the achievement of food security in Nigeria.
“It is unacceptable that our agricultural land should be taken up in this manner to plant crops, process the produce, and export the proceeds back to Egypt. It is colonial in conception and will definitely undermine the local economy of the people.
“This investment is about turning our farmers into farmhands and reducing them to cheap disposable labour to produce food for Egypt, while we continue to depend largely on food imports.”
Also, HOMEF’s Programmes Director and Lead, Hunger Politics, Joyce Brown, warned against mono cropping, stating that it has serious implications for biodiversity, nutritional diversity, soil fertility and, economic well-being of our peoples.
“It is clear that the proposed investment by the government of Egypt prioritises monoculture and export-oriented production at the expense of local food needs. This negates efforts at improving Nigeria’s food security. This can fuel economic dependency and volatility,” she said.
HOMEF further condemns the forceful uptake, transfer and redistribution of lands to foreign speculators by state governments under the guise of addressing food insecurity, adding: “Land remains crucial to African culture and economy, while wellbeing and is key to a rich human experience besides providing a sense of identity, belonging and meaning to individuals and communities alike.
“It is important to recognise and respect these interconnections not only for food security but for fostering cultural diversity, preserving ecosystems, and promoting sustainable practices that honour the land and the cultural practices associated with it.
“The best investments in Agriculture at this time will be such that priorities local food needs, and should be hinged on collaboration with farmers, promote biodiversity, build our ecosystems, cool the planet and assure food sovereignty and food security. We all have a role in saving the environment and as such, if you see something, say something,” she said.
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