*** Floods Insecurity and Lack of Farm Inputs As Factors
*** Farmers Warned Against Selling Off Produce At Farm Gates
Most states across Nigeria are reporting floods that have submerged their farms or sacked them from their houses, with the ultimate after effects of affecting harvests and storage of food.
Others are experiencing both flood and insecurity which have rendered farming activities almost impossible.
Additionally, the economic downturn has made access to farm inputs and implements inaccessible.
Experts warn that there are very strong indications that there will be acute food shortage in most parts of the country, following the pervasive flooding and insecurity across the nation.
An agricultural entrepreneur, former commissioner of agriculture and Natural Resources in Borno State and Sarkin Noman Biu, Mai Madu Dilli, disclosed this while appearing in national TRAIL Podium.
According to him, besides the flooding that has washed away or submerged farms and the general insecurity which has prevented farming activities, farmers also experienced shortage of farm inputs, including herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.
Dilli who leads a community of over two hundred thousand farmers in Borno State told NationalTrail editors that, the combined effects of these factors leaves no doubt that there will be food shortage.
“There is very high possibility of food shortages this year for a couple of reasons,
First of all we just talked of excessive precipitation with resultant flooding not only in Borno but in about 33 states of the federation, this destroyed farms and even farmers, there is the likelihood of the flood destroying the Irrigation structures which will affect even the irrigation farming mostly around the river basins in the dry season, also even that did not experience flood there have been erosions,
“Secondly,” he continued, “inputs especially fertilizers and chemicals have been difficult to come by this season, for importers of of any inputs have met brick wall, since the lockdown as a result of Covid-19 and scarcity of foreign exchange have lost capacity to bring in inputs, it has also resulted in scarcity of products sending the price out the ordinary farmers reach, without these inputs naturally crop yields are sure to go down making food unavailable”.
“Thirdly the problem of insurgency in the crop production areas of the north east and north west is contributing to the shortage of food this year, the insurgents not only stop people from farming but destroy the already planted and farms ready for harvest,
With all these factors food shortages may be experienced”.
While warning farmers not to rush in selling off their little produce, the agricultural expert, noted that there does not seem to be any plan on ground by the government to help curtail the foreseen eventuality.
Borno State: especially the southern part where Dilli’s own farms are located may be worst off for it, he warned, as so many other factors are being added to the foreseen situation.
Amongst such issues include the hurried selling of farm produce and the mopping up of grains by merchants, in a situation of prevailing bad harvest.
” It is actually very unfortunate that farmers are now selling their produce/ harvest at the farm gate, that is the clear indication of food scarcity, but actually the problem here is the grain traders and some Rice millers from all over the nation seeing these factors are out to buy as much as they can anticipating
scarcity of especially paddy, the desperation is such they buy paddy
for up to 30,000 naira a bag of
85/90kg, and you know the bag of 85/90kg cannot give you 50kg of polished rice so you know the rest”.
The former Agriculture commissioner further noted that, “the problem we have in Biu and to some extent southern Borno is the fact that we don’t have any other trade but farming and unfortunately we only have one season farming in most of the areas except may be Shani, Bayo, a bit of Hawul and Askirs/Uba where we have rivers around for dry season farming,
In other words we work for only four months in a year and wasting the remaining eight months doing nothing”.