Reviving the Nigerian economy post COVID-19 by embracing Agriculture

Agriculture is regarded as the oldest profession known to man, this noble profession has seen countless seasons and eras going as far back as Adam. Agriculture unlike other sectors of the economy has not been fully maximized to include the infusion of technology for advancements, the 2000s have seen an influx of numerous technological advancements utilized in various walks to make life processes easier, why have these advancements not been incorporated into agriculture?

The earlier technology is embraced into Agric, the better for all, one thing the pandemic has taught us so far is that we can live without crude oil (for now) but we can never live without food. Various Samaritans have gone around sharing food items and palliatives to individuals and masses around them, but no one has shared fuel. Oil prices in the USA have crashed to an all-time low this week with basic things like airtime cards, a loaf of bread, gaining value over the once ‘high valued’ commodity. This is the time for governments and organizations to look into Africa’s green oil, Agriculture is the only sustainable sector to revive the economy and grow the fortunes of the nation, locally and across the globe.

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Africa boasts an extensive landmass with 30.37 million km2 spread across 55 countries making it the second-largest continent in the world, over 70% of Africa’s landmass is very arable and cultivatable for farming and various agricultural purposes. Africa currently holds 60% of the globe’s arable land with 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land. In Nigeria, over 82 million hectares of land is available to be utilized for agricultural purposes with only 41% of such land currently utilized. Currently, farmers are not producing at the optimal rate due to the pandemic with many farmers ill-informed on the virus. Most farmers in Nigeria are in rural settlements, devoid of communication, tools, and machinery to match up to their counterparts in advanced counties. Simply put, Agric in Nigeria is lagging.

About 80% of Africa’s agriculture depends on rains, not irrigation and the rains are almost here again, how do we maximize the effect of nature on our lands? In all sincerity the rain will not be wasted to any farmer who prepares accordingly, but how can the farmers prepare when they have no seedlings?

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Local farmers are crying out, preparations for the farming season may be very slow because most of the farming inputs (seeds) come from rural areas and if the rural areas are shut, then there would be a short flow of farming input, and those that arrive would not come as at when due. Financial institutions that provide funds to farmers are partially not available and as such, farm produce will be in short supply.

Food is key and should be treated as such, for a nation to be wealthy it has to be healthy and for it to be healthy it has to be well-fed, as it stands it is not.  Technological advancements and inclusion is the only way to drive agriculture in the country to the next level where we can safeguard the failing economy and revive it. According to Co-CEO Cellulant Group, Bolaji Akinboro, Logistics is the major problem facing the Agric space in Nigeria, if the logistics can be put in place, supply will meet demand and everyone will go home happy having transacted and gotten real value for their money. Providing technical support to the farmers and providing an avenue where buyers can meet with sellers will transform the sector in no time and reduce the over-reliance on crude oil.

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