By EMAMEH GABRIEL, Abuja
Farmers in Nasarawa State are still counting their losses months after the lift on restrictions of movement due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The cut in food supply, passability and accessibility restrictions, sharp fall in prices of some farm produces during lockdown and the subsequent nationwide EndSARS protest are all said to be responsible for the setback, just as the cost of labour and production continue to rice.
Speaking with journalists in Keffi recently, Retson Tedheke, national coordinator of Nigerian Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) said his firm survived the effects of the pandemic due to the value already built in the last few years, wishing that sometimes the fourth quarter of 2020 is written off the books of history.
Retson also recounted their bitter experience during the EndSARS protest.
In his words: “The reality is that 2020 was a very bad year for farmers. I will say that any farm that can survive the challenges of 2020 will probably not die again.
“We lost money, when we were to move some of our cows to the south because of the restriction of movement, we lost money with #EndSARS protests because with the protest came the opening of border and foreign rice flooded Lagos,” said Retson who disclosed that the farm incurred losses of about N200,000,000 during the period in question.
He continued: “But that is why we have always asked that agriculture should be treated as a national treasure because every industrial revolution has been premised on Agric. As an agrarian, from the west to the east.
“So yes it was a very tough year, it was a tough year with our investors, it was a very tough year with markets, because if you don’t move good you cannot sell and if you don’t sell you cannot make money, if you are not making money, you are not surviving.
“Hence we lost money in so many ways but at the end of the day what you must keep doing is to keep building since at the end it is value that determines longevity.
“It is value that determines process and productivity and because the farm has been able to build value over the years it was easier for us to.
“Thankfully December last year the Central Bank of Nigeria supported the farm with N734m with the hope of increasing that because they see the farm as a local content driven project, Nigerian project with Local content and the project has kept on creating employment reducing joblessness and increasing productivity for the greater good of our people.”