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Agric growth lowest since 2018 as insecurity takes toll on farming

Nigeria has seen its agricultural sector’s growth rate slowing to 1.30percent in the second quarter of 2021 as escalating issues of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and herdsmen attacks continue to take a heavy toll on farming.

The sector recorded its lowest growth rate since the second quarter of 2018 when it grew by 1.19percent, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

“I have not visited my 1,000-hectare farmland in Katsina state since last year owing to the activities of bandits and kidnapping in that area so, how can we feed ourselves and record growth in the sector if farmers are abandoning their farmland?” remarked Kabir Ibrahim, national president, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), during a panel discussion at a recent BusinessDay’s Agribusiness and Food Security Summit.

“The government must provide adequate security if we are to increase food production and halt the current rising cost in food prices,” Kabiru said.

Read also: NEPC builds capacity of farmers in Cross River for organic farming

Growth in the sector grew by 1.30percent in q2 2021, a decrease of 0.28percent from the corresponding period of 2020 and a decline of 0.97percent from the preceding quarter in 2021. Agriculture contributed 23.78percent to the country’s overall GDP in real terms for the period, lower than it contributed in the corresponding period of 2020, which stood at 24.65 percent.

Agricultural activities have been greatly impacted as farmers in Africa’s most populous country had to abandon their farmlands owing to escalating issues of kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism in some of the major crop-producing areas.

Nigeria has been unable to drive sustained growth and generate substantial FX through the sector despite its potentials, owing to the government’s inability to resolve insecurity issues that have been a major setback.

Key players in the sector who spoke with BusinessDay attributed the slowed growth in the sector to nagging security issues, which have been tipped to stoke food crisis in Africa’s biggest economy, as crops, and livestock production continue to decline.

“The insecurity issues in the country keep getting worse and nobody is doing anything about it and if it continues to be ignored, growth in the sector will continue to decline,” said AfricaFarmer Mogaji, chief executive officer, R-ray Consulting Limited. “We have a shortfall fall in almost all crops and now the gap is getting wider,” he said.

Similarly, Suleiman Ladan, lecturer at the Department of Basic and Applied Sciences, Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic, Katsina said that the current insecurity had significant implications for the country and may lead to a food crisis if nothing is done to address the issue quickly.

“Bandits and kidnapping have made farming almost impossible in major agricultural producing areas,” Ladan said.

He urged the government to address the issue holistically and as a matter of urgency to ensure food security.

Also, climate change is impacting farming activities as farmers are experiencing drought in some regions and excessive in others. Food prices in the country have been making rapid climbs owing to a shortfall in production.

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