COVID-19: Farmers seek boost in agricultural production

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All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has called on the Federal Government and agriculture stakeholders to help sustain efforts in mitigating effect of coronavirus by boosting food production.

Mr Kabir Ibrahim, the National President of AFAN spoke with newsmen in Abuja.

Ibrahim said that while farmers were willing to provide sufficient food for the teeming population, it was also important to provide them with further enabling environment to produce optimally.

According to him, at the crucial period in the nation’s history, farmers need to be given very good and high yielding seeds at affordable prices.

“This is necessary for the production of large quantities of staples peculiar to various regions.

“They need to be provided with adequate strategic storage facilities for grains and vegetables to mitigate post-harvest losses that can cripple the upscale production attained.

“Provision of dedicated power to agro-industrial estates across the nation to facilitate value addition,’’ Ibrahim said.

On other requirements, the AFAN president said that diesel must be provided at affordable price for farmers to help boost agricultural production in the wake of coronavirus scare.

He said this would assist in wide and effective use of farm machineries making use of diesel fuel.

He called for reactivation of the Guaranteed Minimum Wage (GMP) programme to facilitate intervention to forestall price turbulence in staples.

Ibrahim said that transportation of farm produce should be subsidized to various regions of need across the country.

He said that the periodic importation and exportation of essential goods and services across the nation’s borders should equally be allowed.

He said that since the coronavirus pandemic began it had necessitated partial lockdown of some cities around the globe.

“The spread of the pandemic to Africa where healthcare is very weak portends dire situation and calls for proactive action on prevention rather than cure.

“It is very sad to note that the pandemic in Africa can be more catastrophic largely due to poverty and lack of medical facilities,’’ the AFAN boss said.

He said that efforts to stem the pandemic in Nigeria was commendable but should be sustained effectively and advised that agricultural production should be up scaled.

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