THE STATE AND FOOD SECURITY POLICIES: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR FOOD SECURITY IN SELECTED STATES OF NIGERIA (2001-2011)
In recent times, the idea of food security has undergone transformation from the perspective of having adequate available food at national level to the ability of nations to ensure that people have adequate access to nutritious and healthy food at all times at the household level. This transformation has invoked a global concern that calls for the need to evolve strategies for either minimizing or possibly eliminating the obstacles against the universal realization of food security most especially at the household level. To complement global efforts in reducing hunger, successive regimes in Nigeria governments initiated series of policies and programme to see that Nigeria is food secured. These policies and programmes vary with the change of governments; but they emphasized almost same objectives on food security both at national and household levels. In spite these interventions, food insecurity remains intractable in the country. It is against this backdrop that this study assessed the contribution of the National Programme for Food Security on household food security. In carrying out this study, multi-stage sampling technique was employed. Firstly, the study adopted Vision 2020 stratification of Nigeria into three zones and in each of these zones a state was randomly selected for data collection. The three selected states for the study were: Jigawa, Osun and Kwara States. Secondly, three sites were randomly selected in each state and in the third stage, 38 beneficiaries were selected from each site. Thirteen interviews were conducted and three hundred and forty-four questionnaires were administered across all the selected sites. Out of this number, three hundred and twenty-three questionnaires were returned. For the interview, National Coordinator of NPFS, three State Coordinators of NPFS and nine Apex leaders were interviewed across the selected sites. Thereafter, the study utilized mean, simple percentage and t-test to analyze the collected data as well as to test the research assumptions, while USDA approach was used to determine the food security status of the beneficiaries. The study found that the NPFS is a community driven programme and allowed wider participation of the beneficiaries in decision-making and implementation. In addition, the study found that after participation, the agricultural productivity and income of the beneficiaries increased. In the area of diversification, only 30 percent were able to diversify among the sampled beneficiaries. On food security status of the sampled beneficiaries, the study found out that majority of the beneficiaries were between food insecurity without hunger (30.65%) and food insecurity with moderate hunger (60.68%). Also the study found that none of the beneficiaries attained full status of food security while 8.67% were not food secured. Thereafter, the study concludes that for any programme to improve household food security there is the need to constantly review the activities of both the executors and the beneficiaries in line with the objectives of the programme.