Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have disclosed that the country may experience a worse hike in food prices beyond 2021, unless urgent steps are taken to save the situation.
The stakeholders said with the trend of insecurity, poor farming activities, lack of access to credit facilities among other factors militating against agriculture, it is impossible to guarantee food security in Nigeria.
The National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, said, with the present skyrocketing of food prices, it is going to be more costly for the nation to feed itself if there is no bumper harvest from the 2021 wet and dry season farming.
Ibrahim called on the Federal and State governments to work the talk in agriculture thereby targeting the real farmers.
He called on the Federal government to consider evidence-based policies and programs, taking lessons from interventions and other countries that have been successful.
“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 present skyrocketing of food prices, if the 2021 harvest is not bumper, it is going to be more costly to feed ourselves further”, he said.
Also, National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ezekiel Ibrahim, who spoke in an interview said, the poultry industry is at the verge of shutting down as most farmers can’t cope with the high cost of production materials.
He attributed the high cost of production materials to insecurity, climate change and hoarding.
Ezekiel who noted that the Association has been drawing the attention of the government to take drastic action for the country to be food secured, said many Nigerians can’t eat what they were eating in the last five years.
He maintained that small and medium-sized poultry farms, which are major players in the industry, are shutting down, thereby threatening millions of jobs created by the industry.
“Since 2019, we have been saying let us import maize and soybeans so that we will keep our agro industries floating, which 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 rates but 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 food. 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, mobilize the youths and make agriculture attractive so as to make it business, we can always do rainy season and dry season farming”, he said.