The Impact of Covid-19 on the Agricultural Sector
There is no doubt that the current pandemic has taken a toll on various sectors of the Nigerian Economy ranging from the oil and gas sector, agricultural sector to the Entertainment industry. The Country was on a total lockdown with all the borders closed due to the fast spread of the infection in all the states in Nigeria. As at June 11, the NCDC has reported 13,873 confirmed cases and 382 deaths of Covid-19 with Lagos, Abuja and Kano with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths. However, with the increase in the number of cases there is great concern about the losses farmers are facing during this pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted a lot of farm activities as farmers were locked in and prevented from going to the farm. Due to the transportation ban, there is break in the supply chain of many agricultural commodities causing a rapid increase in post-harvest losses.
Media reports shows that post-harvest loss has greatly affected poultry farmers especially poultry farmers that rear layer birds as a lot of eggs have gone to waste. There was also a large number of Mango wasted in Benue state as there was no market for the fruit and lack of equipment to process them. Tomato farmers were also greatly affected with a decrease in price because of the perishable nature of this product.
The African swine has killed 145,000 in Oke-aro farm estate in Lagos State which is the largest pig farm West Africa leading to a loss of billions of Naira. It is a devastating experience as most of the pig farmers have invested a lot on the farm.
Subsistent farmers have been greatly affected because they rely on the sales of output from their farms to generate funds for other expenses. The rural farmers have said that “the hunger is killing them faster the Virus” because they have no source of livelihood if they do not sell their farm produce.
Most agricultural activities such as planting, harvesting, tillage are season dependent and the lockdown has disrupted farming activities which has disrupted the planting cycle of a lot of crops. However, farmers have been working relentlessly to ensure food security after the lockdown.
Chigbufue Fumnaya Anastasia.