A few weeks ago, the Federal Government reduced the price of fertilizer from N5,500 to N5,000, reduced the price of fuel, increased the moratorium period on loans and also reduced the interest rate from 9% to 5%.
These measures were put in place to cushion the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and reduce some burden on Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), especially those whose businesses had to be put on hold due to the lockdown.
For the MSMEs in the Agricultural sector and value chain, activities have to carry on in order to prevent food shortages which will further add to the lingering issue of hunger and poverty in the country.
However, farmers and others involved in the Agricultural value chain currently have to deal with;
- High cost of transportation of farm produce and other goods
- Inadequate finance for commercial agriculture
- Theft of farm produce on the transportation routes
- Restrictions on movement of goods due to the lockdown and many others.
Consequently, the losses posed by the challenges are transferred to the consumers in form of high prices, affordable to some and outside the means of others.
The good news is that, the appropriate Ministries and Agencies have geared up towards tackling these challenges to ease the fears of food insecurity in the country.
Recently, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono inaugurated the joint technical task team on emergency response to COVID-19 with the aim of facilitating free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and agricultural inputs and farmer’s movement across the nation, during the lockdown and the 2020 farming season to avert food crisis.
Therefore, it is safe to say that losses incurred by farmers will lessen soon and the purchasing power of food, livestock and agricultural inputs for every household .