According to those in agriculture, things aren’t looking good. Industry workers lament that the lockdown in Nigeria has affected their production in no small measure and that more needs to be done to avert a food shortage in the country.
During a webinar series organized by agricultural journalists, farmers noted that COVID-19 has affected activities across the industry’s entire value chain including preproduction, production, processing, storage, transportation, and marketing, leading to huge financial losses.
Bello Abubakar, national president, of the Maize Association of Nigeria, stated that if care is not taken, there will be a more traumatic problem than COVID-19, given the effects of the pandemic on farming activities.
He explained that farmers who planted for 2019/2020 dry season could not harvest, and that those who were set for planting could not do so because of the lockdown, as they could not access their farms or source agricultural inputs from suppliers.
Ezekiel Ibrahim, national president of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, said that the pandemic has exposed the country’s very poor distribution network for poultry products, making it difficult for farmers to sell what has been produced, or to even adequately take care of their current stock.
Meanwhile, Nafiu Abdu, president, of the Soybean Farmers Association of Nigeria noted that contrary to the experience of others, soybean farmers have not been affected in terms of production since the crop is planted late in the season, starting in the second week of June or in some places, even the beginning of August in some places.
He did, however, expressed worry about the price of inputs, which is becoming very high. Fertilizer now costs over N10,000 in some places, fully double what the federal government sold it for last year.