The University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM) was established in 1988 by the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of the strategies for achieving National Food Self-sufficiency and Reliance. UAM was charged with the mandate of integrating teaching, research and model extension services in forms that would continually assure scientific transformation of agriculture for National goal achievement in attaining and sustaining food security status.
An important component of UAM’s strategic plan is the development of programme initiatives on food security. Conceptually, UAM views Food Security as all encompassing and seeks to contribute to the opening up of the pathways to the attainment and sustenance of the national food security status within the context of the value chain. The critical components of and the issues involved in the chain are production, storage, processing and marketing which jointly direct the patterns of consumption and utilization which are, also, the view of UAM that food insecurity persists when a milieu of exogenous and endogenous elements interact in forms that create impediments to the effectiveness of the value chain. The analysis of these would aid in addressing food security problems.
It is in consideration of the above that the Senate of the University constituted a Committee to draw up the blue-print for setting up an institutional outfit on food security issues. This represents a unique opportunity for strengthening the intellectual base for analyzing and addressing the worsening national and global food security situations through the establishment of the Institute of Food Security (IFS). The Institute has been mandated to contribute to filling the intellectual gaps in terms of knowledge and information, analytical and advisory capacity as well as brokerage functions pertaining to food security in Nigeria in particular and globally at large. It is, also, envisaged to substantially contribute to the policy implementation mechanism of the national food security programme.
The Institute of Food Security has clear statements of vision, mission and mandate as well as the back-up organizational structure and linkage arrangements for delivering the mission and mandate and, thus, achieving its vision. In that regard, six programme and activity areas have been put in place. These are:
The operational modalities of the programmes assure high multi-disciplinary content in resource mobilization and utilization for analyzing and addressing food security issues. This handbook has been organized and presented into the following six sections:-
These sections would guide the innovative efforts of the Institute of Food Security in analyzing and addressing the concerns for Food Security in Africa and the entire world.
The goals of the Institute include:
i. Increased learning, leadership and linkages that support agencies and organizations in managing their programmes and projects towards the attainment of food security of Nigeria in particular and the world at large.
ii. Develop and demonstrate a system of coordination, efficiencies and information regarding food in Nigeria and the world.
iii. Develop and demonstrate appropriate methods and approaches to identifying, coordinating and documenting success and failure stories on food-related needs, resources and solutions.
iv. Promote the sustainability of food security in the country and support food security policies and plans based on identified local and international resources and assets.