Nigeria's stressed food sector.

The African nation of Zimbabwe's disastrous "land reform" program featuring the confiscation of farms may have an unintended benefit for Nigeria.

In 2004, the Nigerian government invited a group of 13 of Zimbabwe's exiled farmers to settle in one of Nigeria's western states to begin large-scale commercial farming, an enterprise that could eventually help to alleviate recurring food crises in Nigeria.

Now, in mid-2005, these Zimbabwe farmers have begun planting their first crops. They are planting 1,500 hectares of rich Nigerian soil with soy and maize, both staples of the Nigerian diet.

According to The Independent Online (Cape Town), a succession of Nigerian governments has neglected the country's potential for a prosperous agricultural sector based on commercial farming, and instead concentrated its efforts on developing Nigeria's oil reserves.

These facts are developed in a July 13, 2005 Independent posting.

Nigeria is the biggest producer of oil in sub-Saharan Africa.

According the CIA's World Factbook oil is responsible for 20 percent of the country's GDP, 95 percent of its export revenues, and 65 percent of the government's budget.

As a result, the country's is easily shocked by swings in the prices for oil on the world market.

Added to the difficulties of poor economic management, corruption, and political instability, Nigeria floats from crisis to crisis - not the least considerable of which is famine.

The resettled Zimbabwe farmers expect not only to increase local production of food thereby improving Nigerian food security, but they are hiring local workers and teaching...

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