Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

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Agriculture: Messiah to Mono Economies Like Ours

Agriculture: Messiah to Mono Economies Like Ours

By Izuchukwu Nwokoma

To say that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic ravaging the World today has inflicted poverty and hardship on the entire World is not an understatement. The glaring fact is … it has crippled the economy.

This is buttressed by the forces of demand and supply which shows at a glance how individuals especially in Nigeria are mindful of making unnecessary and bogus demands which their families do not need at this critical time.

In the light of the above, medics, food items and other essentials needed in the family have continued to be in demand ensuing from the nationwide lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari to checkmate the spread of the Coronavirus scourge in the country.

Regrettably, despite the lockdown which was complimented by States, the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 782, with 197 discharged while 25 deaths have been recorded so far. This increasing figure has left many wondering if the novel virus will ever end? Of course there is hope for an end especially with the cheering news that the United Kingdom will commence testing of vaccine on Thursday, April 23, 2020 after working tirelessly to come up with it for the treatment of the Virus.

As hope rises, there is the need to reflect on what the future holds for Nigeria as a mono economy and having spent huge resource in combating the spread of the deadly Coronavirus Pandemic. This moment of thought is germane especially now that the price of crude Oil globally which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy has fallen below zero for the first time to settle at negative $37.63 per barrel.

Indeed, a country like Nigeria, should be weary of this disheartening development and look for ways to keep the economy afloat if the COVID-19 menace comes to an end.

Even as nations battle to contain the spread of the Coronavirus and come up with vaccine, it is imperative that government at all levels in Nigeria pick interest in farming especially now that the ground has been hit running in all parts of the country. The idea behind this, is that, instead of relying on the crashed price of oil which may take time to come up, government, individuals will have something to fall back on immediately the pandemic is over.

If utmost and adequate attention is given to this all important sector in the light of the precarious situation, indeed, the sector could be likened to a Messiah that has all it takes to liberate a mono economy like Nigeria from the shackles of over dependence.

Instead of relying on oil, when the novel Coronavirus is over, government at all levels can give soft loans to farmers, provide special breeds of farm inputs, encourage mechanised farming, subsidise fertilizers while the President Muhammadu Buhari’s certain agricultural policies like: the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), The Green Alternative (TGA), Agricultural Credit to farmers for the production of Rice , Wheat, Ginger, Maize among others to farmers should be made more visible and result oriented.

Revisiting of certain agricultural programmes in the past like the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), the National Accelerated Food Programme (NAFPP), the Green Revolution, among others, which produced outstanding results when introduced, should be given utmost attention with a view to cutting down over dependence on oil when the storm is over.

While Nigerians practice social distancing, wearing of hand gloves, use of hand sanitizers among others as directed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is every need to realise that there is huge potentials in going back to the land beyond rhetorics as the agricultural sector is capable of placing food on tables if maximum attention is paid to it by government at all levels.

Now that the global price of oil is down, government, donor agencies, individuals should see agriculture as the messiah that can liberate mono economies like Nigeria’s and by so doing, diversify our economy which had so much depended on oil while neglecting other explorable avenues that will assist in repositioning the Nigerian economy.

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