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No respite despite state of emergency on food security

Since President Bola Tinubu declared a state of emergency on food security in July, nothing new has happened in the country’s agricultural landscape, farmers say.

The farmers who spoke to BusinessDay say the government had yet to provide any assistance in the form of loans, inputs, incentives, and policies to support them in reducing their production costs despite having a state of emergency in the sector.

They said actions ought to have followed the President’s declaration in July.

“Emergency means urgency, but we aren’t seeing that right now after three months in the sector despite the declaration by the President,” said AfricanFarmer Mogaji, chief executive officer of X-Ray Farms Consulting.

Read also: Farmers reject CBN role in Tinubu’s food security plan

“Nothing has changed for farmers since the declaration of the emergency. It’s theory to them, not practical,” he said.

According to him, the government was supposed to constitute a committee immediately after the declaration that would hit the ground running.

“The farmers are still where they are; nothing has changed. Things have gotten tougher for them as input prices continue to surge and the recent floods,” Mogaji added.

Ibrahim Kabiru, national president of All Farmers Association, said the state of emergency on food security includes tackling insecurity, mitigating the effects of climate change, minimising post-harvest losses, deploying technology, accentuating processing, and providing affordable transportation.

Kabiru noted that nothing is happening yet in the sector since the declaration but more time is needed for the Tinubu administration to hit the ground running in providing the necessary support farmers need to boost productivity.

“We believe things will start happening from the November food security summit the minister mentioned.”

The Nigerian government announced several initiatives to support the agricultural sector, including releasing fertilisers and seeds to farmers and investing in irrigation infrastructure after the declaration.

However, several farmers say they are yet to receive any support since the government made the announcement.

“We heard it as an announcement but it is yet to take off. We are yet to receive any support since the declaration and the season is almost over,” said Muhammed Augie, former state chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kebbi state chapter.

Read also: Scarcity, high prices threaten Nigeria’s food security drive – Minister

“All that is happening now is the recovery of the loans taken under the Anchor Borrowers Programme,” he said.

Many farmers remain sceptical and are calling for more concrete actions to back up the emergency declaration.

They argue that without immediate and tangible changes, the state of emergency may remain nothing more than a hollow promise, leaving them to grapple with the same issues that have plagued the sector for years.

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