Experts seek more investment in Nigeria's agriculture for food security
Published 14 May,2021 via The Nation - Nigeria may experience soaring food prices beyond this year unless urgent steps are taken to tackle insecurity and other factors impeding agriculture, stakeholders in the sector have warned.
They identified poor farming activities and lack of access to credit facilities as other factors threatening food security in the country.
National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, told our reporter that with the prevailing skyrocketing food prices, it will be more costly for the nation to feed itself without bumper harvests from the wet and dry seasons farming.
He called on the federal and state governments to focus on real farmers in the implementation of their interventions in the sector.
The AFAN boss called on the Federal Government to consider evidence-based policies and programmes, learn from interventions and other countries that have been successful.
He said: “We don’t even have a policy for agriculture up till now, the one we had expired, we must work our talk in agriculture, and target the real farmers, we must move towards agricultural investment, mechanisation, quality seed and amend our water resources for dry season farming.
“With the prevailing skyrocketing food prices, if the 2021 harvest is not a bumper, it is going to be more costly to feed ourselves further.”
The National President of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ezekiel Ibrahim, who echoed the AFAN president, said the poultry industry was at the verge of shutting down.
He told The Nation that most farmers cannot cope with the high cost of production materials, which he blamed on insecurity, climate change and hoarding.
Ezekiel, who noted that PAN had been drawing the attention of the government to take drastic action to keep the food secured policy on track, said many Nigerians have not been eating what they would have liked to in the last five years.
According to him, the small and medium-sized poultry farmers, believed to be major players in the industry, were closing shops, thereby threatening the millions of jobs created by the industry.
He said: “Since 2019, we have been saying let us import maize and soybeans to keep our agro industries floating. This means we are maintaining employment rate. As at today, most factories and poultry farms have closed, the ones that are producing now are producing at a loss, if they continue, sooner or later, they are going to close down.
“This will not only heighten the crime rate, it will increase malnutrition. We have never had the worst experience as we are experiencing today, a lot of people can’t afford anything in the market currently.
“The economy of any nation depends on its purchasing power and many Nigerians go to bed today without eating. We must secure this nation to allow farmers to go to farm and give credit facilities to genuine farmers.
“If we are serious, we can transform this country in three years; we have vast land and very productive youths. we should use what we have, mobilise the youths and make agriculture attractive so as to make it business, we can always do rainy season and dry season farming.”
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Juliana Agbo, Abuja