By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Tuesday, explained why the Federal Government should focus on food production, availability and accessibility as Coronavirus, COVID-19, continue to spread.
The President of AFAN, Architect Ibrahim Kabir, told Vanguard that the Coronavirus, COVID-19, has taken a new turn and trend, which food production is to be up-scaled.
Kabir who commended effort by the government to stem the COVID-19 pandemic in the country raised concern that following partial lock downs announced by the federal and state governments to safeguard the lives of Nigerians there is the need to consider up-scaling food production to mitigate impacts of social and health measures.
He also added that it has become imperative for government to also put in place proactive measures for food production, availability, accessibility and affordability.
He said: “The effort to stem the pandemic in Nigeria is commendable but to make it sustainably effective we need to put a lot of effort to upscale our agricultural production.
“While the farmers are willing to work assiduously to provide sufficient food for our large population it is important to provide them with a further better enabling environment to be able produce optimally.
“It is absolutely necessary to provide very good and high yielding seeds at affordable price to the farmers to enable them to be able to produce large quantities of staples peculiar to the various regions.
“Provide adequate strategic storage facilities for grains and vegetables to mitigate post-harvest loss that could cripple the upscaled production attained.
“Provide dedicated power to Agro- industrial estates across the nation to facilitate value addition.
“Provide diesel at affordable price to enable the wide and effective use of farm machinery especially using diesel fuel.
“Reactivate the GMP( Guaranteed Minimum Wage) programme to facilitate intervention to forestall price turbulence in stables.
“Subsidize transportation of farm produce to various regions of need across the entire nation.
“Allow the periodic importation and exportation of essential goods and services across our borders (Air, land and sea).”
The AFAN boss also expressed concern over the deep and terrific impact the virus has inflicted on lives, health, economies and social lives of people across the globe, which according to him the pandemic in Africa could be more catastrophic largely due to poverty and lack of medical facilities.
“Today the 24th day of March, 2020 marks about the 6th week effectively since the Coronavirus pandemic began necessitating partial lockdown of some cities around the globe beginning with China Mainland, Eastern Europe, Persia and elsewhere.
“The spread of the pandemic to Africa, where healthcare is very weak, portends a dire situation and calls for a proactive action on prevention rather than cure.
“It is very sad to note that the pandemic in Africa could be more catastrophic largely due to poverty and lack of medical facilities”, he said.