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COVID-19: Most maize farmers have lost what they planted- MAAN President

The President of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Dr Bello Abubakar has lamented that due to the lockdown directive from the government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many maize farmers have been unable to access their farms.
Dr Abubakar said farmers who planted during the 2019/2020 dry season farming have found it difficult to go to farms and harvest their crops, hence, they have lost the crops.
Dr Abubakar disclosed this during a Webinar interview with Guild of Nigeria Agriculture Journalists (GNAJ).
He said as the rainy season has set in, some maize farmers in the South South and South West have been unable to access their farms to plant due to movement restriction.

“COVID-19 is a global pandemic that affected all the economic sectors in the world especially here in Nigeria, our agricultural sector was affected very much.

“COVID-19 affected our farmers in so many ways, the farmers that planted last at the 2019/2020 dry season were affected because by the time they were about to go for harvest, this problem came in so they cannot move to their farms, they don’t have other implements to go and harvest their crops, so most of them have lost what they have planted last year dry season farming.
“If you come to the area where rain started earlier, like the South South and South West, they are planting earlier than the Northern part of the country, so due to those challenges of COVID-19, our farmers cannot be able to go to their farms.
“While some of them have started planting, but because of the total lockdown, they cannot move to their farms again, they cannot access inputs from their suppliers, so even that on affected their planting.
“There is no production for the last dry season, especially in the South South where they are planting earlier, many of our farmers did not plant, that is why we appeal to the Federal Government to come to our rescue since last month, which we are very glad that President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a quick action where he directed the minister to provide a solution or a way he can assist the farmers to get the inputs and go back to the farm”, Dr Abubakar said.
While advising the government, the MAAN President tge government should always carry the commodity Association leaders along when dealing with issues than concerns food production.
He also advised government to ensure that they mop up all the farmers produced so that it can encourage the farmers to grow more.
“I want to advise the government that whenever it comes to dealing with food production in Nigeria, there is a need to invite all the major stakeholders.
“We the leaders of the commodity association are the drivers, so we must be carried along not only to do something theoretical, farming is not all about theory, it is all about practical.
“I want to also tell the government that whatever our farmers are producing, they (government) are supposed to buy them directly from the farmers”, he added.

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