It is a hard truth we must tell ourselves so that our future will be better, Agriculture is the only sector that can save us now and forever in future. For African economies to be able to survive during and after battling with the world most deadly disease “Coronavirus“, undiluted attention must be given to agriculture.
We abandon our arable land for our aged parents to cultivate and feed 1.3billion people in Africa, our attention was given 100 per cent to crude oil. Now, we need food than crude oil. Our crude oil is now trading below $3 per barrel in the global market because the demand for it has dropped drastically.
NOTE: There is still a huge demand for Agro commodities as palm oil is now trading for US$575 per metric tonne.
You may be wondering why the sharp dropped in crude oil that was trading above US$70 the in early January 2020 is now selling below $10. The reason is not farfetched. Crude Oil is now priced for a kobo in the global market mainly because many businesses around the world have shut down operations.
No futurist or seer was able to inform our Nigerian government that her only dependable source for foreign exchange earnings would drop down to US$10 today, our educated economist benchmarked crude oil at US$57 per barrel in the 2020 national budget.
Nigeria as a monolithic economy, sales of crude oil provide 90% of our foreign earnings and National budget been drawn on assumptions of certain prices of crude oil. We are in tough times as a Nation, but we have a concrete alternative that can power our failing economy back to life.
We know that coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of industries and corporations to close offices sending staff home, and many of these industries are heavy buyers of the crude oil. With the closed doors, demand for oil lessens while supply from oil-producing countries including my beloved country Nigeria is increasing daily.
Simple secondary school economics told us that, “When the supply is above demand, the price of such commodity or service drops too” and this is what is happening to our crude oil today, businesses are on shutdown, transportation companies are not operating, manufacturing firms are equally closed.
When our Nigerian government announced that all business activities should be closed, everyone was running to food sellers to stock their warehouse with enough foodstuffs, nobody was interested in luxurious cars or clothes. This to tell us that food production controls other business activities in the world and therefore, more attention should be paid to it.
The President Buhari administration started preaching diversification since 2015 with intention of investing heavy in agriculture but no significant attention has been given to the sector, the 2020 National budget allocated a sum of N83billion to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. I am not in the right position to explain how the N83billion was shared or used to boost food production in Nigeria.
Dear Nigerian youth, this is not the time to blame or insult our government, we are in this together, since our only source of earnings is becoming worthless daily and destitute citizens that depending solely on Federal, State, and Local government with no side business but salaries are now in danger.
As a farmer, my concern is Food Security. If you don’t have money but there is food in your kitchen, you will have rest of mind because we are fighting against food hunger not really concern about buying cars, clothes, and building houses.
“The Convid-19 pandemic is affecting food systems and all dimensions of food security across the world. No country is immune. We have to ensure that food value chains are not disrupted and continue to function well and promote the production and availability of diversified, safe and nutritious food for all” Dr Qu Dongyu. Director-General FAO.
Africa has been a net importer of food, it is a threat to human existence here if we can not access food locally and internationally. It is time to invest physical cash into Agriculture and not signing papers in offices promising to diversify the economy.
The sad reality is, our National budget was written base assumptions of crude oil price, the global drop in demand due to Saudi Arabi and Rusia market share war, our government is forced into readjusting it by N2trillion and still have to borrow about N3trilllion to be able to fund the N10.33trillion budget.
Although crude oil price might increase soon, this is a wake-up call to both the Nigerian government and her citizens to invest in Agriculture. I know this pandemic will affect the global economy at large scale – But it brings the Nigerian economy to her knees and right now is the best time to make deliberate efforts towards a truly diversified economy.
As a Nigerian with a small portion of farmland at your disposal, cultivate your own food. plant Maize, Cassava, and if possible rice. Plant your vegetables such as tomato, pepper, okra, watermelon, and others. Because nobody can predict exactly where and how your food will be cultivated next month or next year.
A lot of people will lose their jobs in Nigeria and some small business owners might not be able to resume into business again, but agriculture can employ them all. All we need is enabling environments and financial support from our government.
If you have farmland, plant your food because people with food might not be ready to share with you tomorrow or next if this crude oil market share war and coronavirus pandemic persist.
PLANT YOUR FOOD.