The Federal Government has been advised to support farmers with critical infrastructure to increase productivity in the food sector, rather than resort to the closure of borders.
The Managing Director of African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), Dr. Adebisi Araba, said this in an interview with the media recently. He added that the solution to food insecurity was to assist smallholder farmers to access information, finance and needed infrastructure to ensure that various farm produce is moved from production hubs to the market with ease.
Araba also said the Federal Government should take a definitive and focused approach to tackle food insecurity and the rising cost of food prices in the country.
“The government really needs to be single-minded about increasing productivity. Sometimes statistics can be fuzzy, where we see stats on people saying that XYZ tonnes of food have been produced. The critical statistics are on how much food was produced on a particular land space. So, if we take the productivity, we can increase productivity and be globally competitive. Nigeria really should be feeding not just the West African market, but be a global food powerhouse.”
While highlighting the challenges farmers and entrepreneurs in the agro-food sector face, Araba said lack of access to the right information was one of the things affecting the sector and there was a need for entrepreneurs to speak up.
“The first thing to be done is to bring down inflation. If you look at the agri-food sector, the government has multiple tools at their disposal. We have the Agri-business investment scheme and the anchor borrower programme, and these two mechanisms are pumping in a lot of money into the agro-food sector, trying to hit below the inflation/interest rate but what that causes in the long term if you keep pumping that kind of money into the sector, is you create an inflation rate because now, there is a lot of money in the economy,” he said.
On way the forward, Araba advised the government to provide the enabling environment and invest in the critical infrastructure that would boost productivity and enhance the sector. Guardian.