The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has urged the government to reopen more borders in order to address the food shortage in the country.
The National President of AFAN, Mr. Kabir Ibrahim, in a chat with THISDAY, said reopening more borders would be a step in the right direction, stressing that food importation could arrest Nigeria’s food inflation to an extent.
He categorically said as the national president of Nigerian farmers that the time is ripe for the country to allow movement of agric products into the country to address the rising food prices currently being experienced in the country.
“Nigeria might need to import food if the rise in food prices continues and the 2021 production is not at an optimum,” the farmer insisted.
“There are many cross cutting allocations in so many ministries and parastatals that directly affect agriculture, but it takes the focus of the driver to be able to identify them. For instance, in transportation, good roads and rail lines will help in transporting our produce, in environment, when the work is done perfectly there and the soil is protected from erosion and others, it becomes stable and good enough for crop production. If the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria Export Promotion Council and related agencies collaborate well, we will be able to export some of our produce,” he said.
He also sounded a note of warning that the lack of abundant rainfall for this year’s planting season in the six geo-political zones could compound food crisis in the country in addition to the already worsened insecurity situation.
The AFAN national president pointed out that Nigerian farmers are currently in dilemma and incapacitated about the growing insecurity in the country, but expressed farmers’ readiness to return to their farms for food harvest and planting of crops.
He said: “Hitherto, lack of rainfalls this planting season is about to discourage their plans of returning to farms and the economic implications will be severe unless government rescues the situation. If the rains fail to set in on time, God forbid, in the North Central, North East, and North West, there will be a lot of pressure on the food system so I do not rule out the possibility of importing some food to augment what we have at the moment.”
Speaking on the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stance on rising food shortages in Nigeria and whether the time is ripe for government to announce more borders re-opening aside the four re-opened borders last year, the renowned farmer said: “I believe it will assuage the fears of food insufficiency if we reconsider our position on the remaining borders that are not yet open. The AfCFTA protocol we signed on to also supports the re -opening of the borders for seamless intercontinental trading activities.”