THE National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and West African Institute for Trade and Agricultural Development (WAITAD) have called on the Federal Government to look into the food security implications that are gradually manifesting due to the effect of coronavirus, describing it as a looming disease facing the entire population.
The associations in a joint statement released and sighted by The ICIR noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has commanded extreme measures and restrictions in different parts of the world including Nigeria.
The statement was signed by Ken Ukaoha, the Secretariat President of the association.
However, Ukoha pointed out that the dwindling oil price has shown the unsustainability of Nigeria’s sole revenue and as such, it enjoined the Federal Government to effect measures that will activate diversification of the economy now.
He advised that while the government was focused on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and investing time, money and energy into battling the deadly virus, it should consider empowering youths and more Nigerians to grow the agricultural sector, to curtail the imploding food insecurity that is being birthed by the lock down directive.
“We note with serious concern that while funding and governance attention have been deposited at the feet of the health sector, and perhaps rightly so, under the present emergency situation; however, food security and the livelihoods of the population which is another looming disease facing the entire population (and perhaps potentially deadlier in propensity) appears not being contemplated for urgency of strategic planning by the government at all levels.
“NANTS and WAITAD therefore appeal to the government to urgently awaken Nigerian economic managers including the President’s Economic Advisory Council to begin immediate considerations and thinking outside the box preparatory to addressing post Covid-19 economic environment, particularly vis-à-vis the future of food security before it comes too late,” the statement read in part.
In suggesting means of effecting a solution, the group called on the Nigerian military to end the raging and long drawn battle and finally decimate and completely erase insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and all other nagging security detractors in the country, describing it as a three-hydra demon that is frustrating the formation of the agricultural sector in the country.
It submitted that it is time the government provide means to support farmers and their national organisations to improve cultivation and harvest.
The group also urged the government to focus on ways of rejigging the economy by producing an economic blueprint that seeks to address the short, medium and long term economic development plan and the unfortunate realities currently facing the nation courtesy of Covid-19 and other related trade, revenue and macroeconomic shortfalls.
Meanwhile, The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that some African countries could see a peak in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, calling that testing should be urgently increased in the region.
As at the time of filing this report, Nigeria, has recorded 318 cases, with 10 deaths.