Farmers assert the increasing incidence of corona virus-related infections and deaths in many agribusiness-friendly states across Nigeria could result in a massive shortage of food in 2021, if the government and other relevant agricultural agencies do not urgently devise proactive strategies towards mitigating the possibility of an impending food scarcity.
Farmers Predict Doom in 2021
Several anonymous outfield farmers in the northern parts of Nigeria in an interview with Business Day Newspapers bore their minds regarding the possibility of a food scarcity in 2021.
They base their prediction on the fact that the unfortunate corona virus outbreak had adversely disrupted Nigeria’s farming supply chain which is the direct consequence of the current high cost of food prices in many markets.
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The northern states of Nigeria happen to be the major source for the production of more than 59% of Nigeria’s food crops.
The farmers interviewed also blamed the current spike in the price of food crops on the on-going Muslim Ramadan fasting. They explained the Ramadan period is usually the time many farmers have a decreased productivity because they have to be engaged with the month-long Ramadan fasting.
Additionally, the farmers explained that the current increase in the prices of food crops is because many of them have slowed down or stopped growing crops because vegetables such as tomatoes and pepper which they commonly grow do not perform well in the months of May through to July each year when the rainfall is heaviest.
Also, another agricultural-based business man, Abiodun Olorundenro, of Aquashoots Limited, added there might be a global incidence of food scarcity in 2021.
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For instance he said, the grains Nigeria is currently consuming were grown in 2019. Abiodun Olorundenro, of Aquashoots Limited recommended that with the current rainy season, Nigeria should be growing enough grains to feed her ever-growing population in 2021.
He said Nigeria’s food production and distribution systems have been unfortunately disrupted by the unexpected outbreak of corona virus, so it was necessary to create innovative strategies to enhance productivity in the food sector.
Olorundenro advised that the government had to step up her game in offering support to the Nigerian food sector in the present circumstance. He advocated that inputs must be provided to farmers at unusually low rates while security of lives and properties on farmlands had to be critically looked into.
He said recently, the World Food Programme (WFP) had previously issued a warning about the covid-19’s capacity to make about 130 million people face starvation globally.
Another respondent, Ayodeji Balogun, country manager, AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited asserted there could be a 10-25% drop in farm productivity in 2020, if covid-19 pandemic continues its dreaded spread into rural communities around Nigeria where more than 60% are actively involved in different agricultural businesses.
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Farmers’ President Chide Nigeria
Also, the national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Ibrahim Kabiru, joined in lending his voice to the fact that Nigeria needed to devise some urgent visionary intervention to help remedy the undesirable situation.
The president of the agrarian group reiterated that the covid-19 outbreak was adversely affecting established farming systems in major agribusiness power houses in the northern states of Nigeria. He said for instance, the 14-day lockdown implemented by the Kano State would further complicate the current situation of food production in Nigeria.
The farmers’ president urged the federal government to create practical solutions to help minimize the consequence of government lockdown policies implemented by different states on the production and distribution of food.
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Ibrahim Kabiru recalled that ever since the government started out with the restriction of movement of persons a month ago in some states as Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, the prices of major staples had skyrocketed by almost 30% in all the other states of the federation.