The level of agricultural productivity in Nigeria is declining due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and this is threatening the country’s food security, the Federal Government said on Tuesday.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this at the public lecture and investiture ceremony of the 6th Chairman of the Abuja Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers, Lynda Elesa.
The theme of the lecture was ‘Environmental sustainability and resilience for food security in Nigeria: The post-COVID-19 era.’
Reacting to the theme in his remarks, Mustapha said the restrictions on movement following the outbreak of the pandemic had led to a decline in agricultural productivity.
He said, “As it is becoming more obvious that, especially with restrictions placed on movement, our levels of agricultural production are declining and this translates to threats to food security in the country.
“The latest statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics indicate this declining levels which have also translated into inflation in food items.
“That the Abuja Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers is, therefore, looking ahead on how to handle this situation after the pandemic is highly commendable.”
Mustapha, who was represented by an official from his office, Andrew Adeja, said the globe had changed so rapidly in the last decade and particularly in 2020 with the onset of COVID-19 as Nigeria was already witnessing a second wave.
“However, we are also comforted with the fact that there is good news with adherence to laid down protocols and guidelines as well as the production of vaccines,” he said.
On her part, Elesa said her team would strive to maintain a balance of the ecosystem in order to effectively support agriculture and enhance Nigeria’s food production, among other tasks before the current NIEE executives.
This came as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, in a statement from his ministry on Tuesday, said the Federal Government was set to commence a livestock pilot scheme in Nasarawa State to improve the sub-sector.
He said Nigeria’s livestock sub-sector was a national asset worth over N33tn that should be encouraged and exploited by Nigerians.
Nanono said the livestock pilot scheme in Nasarawa was worth €400,000 for a start, adding that Bauchi and Gombe states were also part of the programme.
He further stated that the agriculture mechanisation programme of the Federal Government would soon commence in 632 Local Government Areas across the country.