Experts in the agriculture sector have warned that Nigeria may be hit by food crisis, except proactive measures were taken to change the tide of low agriculture inputs productivity in the country. The experts, both from Nigeria and other West African countries, said this in Abuja, during the national workshop for analysing agricinput supply chains in West Africa and Sahel sub-region.
They said the situation where there was food insecurity in Nigeria needed adequate attention, considering that population was increasing astronomically in Nigeria and in West African region, while agricultural inputs were not improving, coupled with low agricultural productivity. An agriculture experts from the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim, said the current scenario where farmers were not aware that there was anything called improved seeds, made it difficult to talk about increasing agric productivity.
Ibrahim said: “Most of our farmers are not aware of improved seeds, they are not aware of how to source for it. We should try to change the scenario, so that we can move this country forward.
The issue is that Nigeria feeds most of the parts of West Africa if the situation is not change we are going to have serious issue of food crisis.” Also, the Director General of NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, said availability of quality inputs was fundamental, which was why stakeholders convened to look at how they could partner to bridge the gap between farmers and quality inputs.
He said: “Making quality inputs available to farmers is very fundamental and this is one of the reasons why stakeholders came together to look at the challenges and look at how we can partner together to make quality inputs, not only seeds, fingerlings even inputs of fertilizers, particularly agro chemicals and inputs necessary for livestock available to farmers. “Stakeholders from Benin, Burkina Faso and Nigeria are here to see how we work, challenge it and see how we can move the agric sector forward and also see how we can partner.”
Another expert, Prof. Bamidele Omitoyin from the University of Ibadan (UI), said agriculture productivity had been very low in Nigeria compared to other countries in the region, due to unavailability of inputs. He noted that the workshop was organised to collect and analyse updated data in agricultural inputs supply and determine the way forward. He said: “The workshop will identify measures and actions to increase the availability, accessibility and sustainable use of quality agricultural inputs in West African region and Sahel.”