Table of contents
- Negative impacts
- Positive impacts
Generally, the corona virus pandemic had negative impacts on Nigeria’s economy without Agriculture being an exception. Agriculture was the least affected when compared to other sectors like manufacturing, construction, services, healthcare etcetera. In essence, agriculture was impacted both negatively and positively by the nationwide lockdown, as some players in the agricultural sector were counting their losses, others were counting gains. At the heat of the pandemic all everyone cared for were foods and medicine. At a time all other economic activities were put on hold and interstates movement was prohibited, agricultural activities and movement of food commodities were allowed.
The farmers were the worst hit, as the lockdown period was at the farming season. There was shortage of labour. Many industries adopted remote method of work leveraging on ICT, agriculture industry was left behind as farming activities take place on the farms expect for distribution, marketing and customer services, extension services ICT platforms can be utilized. Even at that, agricultural marketing and extension services can’t be complete without physical movement of goods and on-the-farm demonstrations respectively. Farmers couldn’t easily evacuate their produce from the farms to the markets across Nigeria because of restrictions on vehicular movements across the country, although the lockdown was partially relaxed to allow passage of food items when people started experiencing shortage of food in the markets. The off takers and middle man were not forth coming due to fear of the Covid-19 pandemic, and nationwide lockdown. The security agencies were only allowing food-laden trucks, the marketers therefore had hard times getting to either farm or markets to buy the farm produce. The middle men took advantage of the situation and offered farmers ridiculous prices for their produce. This led to loss of revenue by the farmers.
The farmers couldn’t easily have access to seedlings, inputs and equipment for the year’s farming. Companies, Markets for agricultural allied products were closed. These agro allied companies lost revenue as their factories were idle. Most of the factories using farm produce as raw materials were either shut or not working at full capacity during the lockdown.
The poultry and fish farmers experienced huge loss of investment to mortality of their birds and fishes as they were not able to access enough feeds at affordable prices. Feeds prices have increased by over 100%
The upsurge of food inflation is not unconnected to the impact of corona virus pandemic on agriculture. As the distribution channels were disrupted during the lockdown, cost of food items and other agricultural commodities rose up. The food inflation extended to 2021 because the farmers were not able to cultivate enough in 2020 farming season to meet up the expected demand in 2021. Nigeria’s food inflation has risen from 14.98% in March, 2021 when the novel corona virus pandemic entered Nigeria to 21.79% in February, 2021. To reduce the food inflation rate, the ministry of finance had announced reductions on import tariffs for tractors and haulage vehicles to enable farmers produce in large quantities, and to reduce costs of transportation.
Corona virus affected global trade. Export of agricultural products especially cash crops cocoa beans, cotton etc. from Nigeria were hampered. Man power at offices of government agencies in charge of foreign trades was cut down, and the few at work prioritized essential goods coming in to the country. The destination countries were also on lockdown and we’re not read to receive such consignments. These affected the agriculture exporters, the framers of those crops, and Nigeria couldn’t earn foreign exchange through agriculture. In other words, it prevented Nigeria from accessing global agricultural market. The Nigerian Customs Service and Nigerian Ports Authority gave priority to importation of essential goods (foods and pharmaceutical products).
Inability of the agribusinesses to pay back their loans and cost of finance. Some farmers and other agro allied businesses are been faced having constraints on meeting up with their loan repayment obligation to money deposit banks. Some banks extended the payment periods without moratorium which leads to borrowers paying more interests on the same principal.
There were few positive impacts or advantages of the pandemic on Nigeria’s agricultural sector. One of them is clearance sell of food grains, poultry products and food products. During the lockdown occasioned by the pandemic, many well-to-do individuals, groups, and governments at different levels supplied food grains to the less privileged in the country. This was a huge sell for the farmers, food manufacturers and distributors. Many food merchants emptied their warehouses. The Nigerian government opened the food reserves, and the grains were shared an palliative. These silos will need restocking.
Another is rise in demand for local… Read more on Business Compiler