Nigeria may see slump in soyabeans, maize output as covid-19 lockdown hammers Agriculture sector

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Poultry farmers have lost 35% resources

President of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Ezekiel Mam, has predicted that the country would experience farmine by 2021.

While speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday, he said his prediction was based on the inability of farmers to work on their farms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “Already, the rainy season has set in so if the maize producers, soybeans farmers could not go to their farms, that is a threat to the poultry industry.

“This is because 70 per cent of the raw materials for the poultry industry, especially poultry production is soya and maize. We have two issues, which are the lockdown, security, and activities of bandits.

“We need to wake up, the government needs to wake up to its duties because we are generally experiencing terrible and tough times.”

The President further disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

Ibrahim was speaking against the backdrop of the impact of the pandemic on agriculture.

The president attributed the loss to logistic and distribution challenges as a result of lack of synergy between the federal and state governments.

He decried the fact that security operatives at the state level had continued to hinder farmers from conveying feeds and day-old chicks to their respective destinations.

According to him, this is even when the Federal Government has exempted poultry farmers from the restriction of movement.

The president noted that there was more than enough food in the country at the moment to cater for the needs of the populace.

He however emphasised that due to the lockdown, farmers were unable to move their produce to the nooks and crannies of the country where they were most needed.

Ibrahim appealed to the government to give soft loans to farmers to enable them continually be in production.

He said that the loss incurred by many farmers was as a result of closure of markets and restrictions of access the markets.

“The first thing we discovered since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the country is not only the issue of production, but we have problems of distribution and logistics.

“Not that we do not have enough food in the country but this food cannot reach the nooks and crannies of the society and that is a great shortcoming on the system and our government.

“A lot of people are dying not as a result of coronavirus but due to lack of food.

“This is because in any situation, even in war situation, food is number one.

“Now in this situation most of our farmers have lost between 35 per cent to 40 per cent of their resources because sometimes you cannot sell but they keep producing.

“Like hatcheries, day-old-chicks when you hatch you cannot deliver them to farms. Eggs is supposed to be the number one thing as palliative, in fact, the demand of egg is supposed to have risen drastically due to its nutritional content but the reverse is the case.

“Anything that affect poultry affect other sectors of agriculture. If you cannot sell a day old chicks, how can you afford to buy poultry feeds? If you cannot sell poultry feed, how will you be able to buy soybeans and corn? so these are the challenges” he noted.

The president said that the COVID-19 had revealed the weaknesses of the government.

According to him, it has put the nation on a scale to know where it stands.

”There is need for us to domesticate our economy.

“What l mean is that we have sufficient food in this country, as much as possible we should not import any food and since we are not importing, our demand for forex is going to be small.

“Therefore, the government should make sure that we have high liquidity, let people have money in their hands to buy whatever they want.

“There should not be lay off of workers from any sector, rather government can print more currency so that people will have cash to buy the local food.

“If the farmer now have good returns from his production, it will influence poultry production and the economy can expand.

“Therefore if we want to move forward when you secure the people, give them electricity so that they can preserve their food and educate them to know the basic requirement for survival.

“If you give everybody opportunity to achieve their potential, they will all contribute maximally to the development of our economy,” he said.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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