Intricately linked to the health issues associated with COVID19 pandemic is a looming food crisis. There are fears that the lock-down across Nigeria and other parts of the world could disrupt the food chain, especially at the supply end, as farmers preparing for the 2020 planting season may have challenges accessing inputs due largely to the disruption of inputs supply logistics within the Southwest agronomic service markets.
This is coupled with the inability of the farmers to access their farms due to the current lock-down/social distancing guidelines that are in operation at the peak of planting season in the Southwest. The current disruption in the flow of direly needed farm inputs at this critical period certainly has negative implications for the region’s food security, its distribution chains and channels in the coming months or years. The post-harvest handling of highly perishable commodities like root and other related crops is also of a major concern.
It is a known fact that the Southwest Region of Nigeria largely depends on external channels, particularly Northern Nigeria, for food supply and raw materials for agro-industries. But COVID-19 and the attendant lock-down/social distancing policy will most likely affect farmers’ productivity across the world, including Northern Nigeria. In the same vein there is also a likelihood of governments’ inability to effectively support farmers with agro-inputs due to financial constraints; a consequence of crash in crude oil prices and its effect on FAAC allocation.
Obviously, from the foregoing, we could be facing food insecurity in the coming months and industries requiring agricultural produce as inputs may be hampered. However, considering its vast agrarian land and the teeming youth population, Southwest Region should be able to harness this enormous resources to ensure food sufficiency as well as sustenance of Nigeria agro industrial’s commodities demands.
It is to this end DAWN Commission is convening a webinar session to discuss mitigating strategies to address the impending food crisis. The session will afford us the opportunity to explore different ways the apparent challenges can be turn into an opportunity for economic growth and employment opportunity for the teeming youths of the Region.
Thus, the webinar on Southwest Food security tagged ‘BEYOND COVID19 PANDEMIC- OPTIMIZING SOUTHWEST AGRICULTURAL POTENTIALS’ seeks to bring together agricultural stakeholders ranging from governments, organized private sectors and development agencies to collectively brainstorm and collaboratively work on strategies that will deliver result in the short, medium and long term to the Region and Nigeria as a whole.