Farmers and agri-business operators have commenced moves aimed at averting food supply crisis that may arise from the current lockdown in states following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Operators under the aegis of Agric Bureau Association of Nigeria stated that it was time for all stakeholders in the country’s agricultural sector to think about how to avert a looming food crisis in Nigeria.
ABAN is a group of indigenous agribusiness investors set up to address the constraints faced by investors, farmers and other operators in the agribusiness segment.
Speaking on behalf of the group, its National Coordinator, Suleiman Dikwa, said the association’s desire was to work with stakeholders in the agricultural sector to develop and implement strategies that would keep the food supply chain working during these turbulent times.
Dikwa said, “Having worked with farmers across all regions in Nigeria, food manufacturers and exporters, we believe it is time to organise ourselves to avoid food supply crisis in our nation.
“This is an opportunity to bring key stakeholders to the table to rationalise activities and keep the food chain flowing. If we fail to act now, we may be facing a crisis in food supplies like we have never seen before.”
He noted that the choice before stakeholders was to either allow the uncoordinated production and distribution of food stuff to continue or to take action.
“If we do nothing, it will likely lead to food shortages for large portions of the population, extreme inflation of food prices and massive wastage of food,” he stated.
Dikwa added, “Therefore, it is urgent that we immediately identify key players in the food supply chain, track levels of food availability and manage supply and distribution. This will require better linkages between users and producers.”
He observed that while the popular thinking could be that there would be less resources available, this might not be the case.
Dikwa said, “We need to bring in all active players in the agriculture and allied industries, pharmaceutical companies and logistic firms into and emergency mode in order to develop a strategy to keep our supply chain running.
“We need to put business as usual aside and direct all resources to developing solutions. There has to be farm camps where only people working on the farms are isolated.”
He added, “If you have people on the farms, let them stay there. The logistics can be worked out with drop offs and pickups. We don’t know where this will go. So if you have any kind of space begin cultivation.”
The agric bureau coordinator stated that if the country shuts down and the food chain stops, this would kill more people than the coronavirus disease.
“So we need to organise ourselves and allocate responsibilities. Leaders have to emerge and organise people to keep the supply chain working,” he stated.
Credit: Punch News