The national president of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, in this interview with CHIKA IZUORA, discloses that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, will boost export of yams and other Nigeria’s agricultural produce.
What are the major challenges facing Nigerian farmers?
The country is experiencing large scale insecurity and farmers do not have access to farm lands. In addition, there is lack of access to finance, high prices of inputs, among others, are threatening the attainment of food sufficiency and the ultimate desired food security in the country.
What kind of intervention do you need from government?
The government should ensure the security required to enable all farmers to readily access their farms. Similarly, we need easy access to finance and inputs at affordable prices sustainably.
What issues are you having with fertiliser at the moment?
Mainly, pricing and lack of appreciable level of subsidy are issues we are battling with currently.
The Presidential Fertiliser Initiative(PFI) regime should be reactivated to ensure even subsidy to all farmers rather than the purported suspicious data capture of farmers being bandied around.
FG is partnering private sector in establishing new fertiliser plants. What is your input in those initiatives and how can it solve fertiliser challenges of farmers?
I am aware of sprouting fertilizer plants all over the nation by private entrepreneurs but not any created through a direct partnership with government per se.
I am also aware of an arrangement for the blenders to procure some of components through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
This is the way to bolster the capacity of the fertilizer and we commend the government and the entrepreneurship of the participating firms.
With time, it will make fertilizer available like Coca Cola in Nigeria and therefore very much appreciated.
What is the volume of fertiliser requirements in Nigeria today?
The requirement is colossal, especially, if it’s affordable to the farmers but we can conservatively put the figure of 3,000,000 metric tonnes(MT) for lack of real time data.
Given lack of storage facilities, how much do you think Nigerian farmers lose yearly in post harvest period?
Post harvest loss in Nigeria today is put at about 45 per cent attributable to insufficient and inappropriate storage, processing and harvesting facilities accessible to farmers.
Has Nigeria been able to improve on yam export and what volume do we actually export to Europe?
Large scale exportation is underway through African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, but it is still a work in progress.
Nigeria will soon experience large scale exportation through the new market, created under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The agreement is estimated to be as large as 1.3 billion people across Africa, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion. This has a potential of lifting up to 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty, according to the World Bank.
Nigeria is recording very high production of Cassava and safely sufficient but processing is still a factor in the foreign exchange earning potential.
Government should assist in marketing of farm produce, transportation, processing facilities and reduce multiple taxation among others.
Export to Europe is challenged. The undeclared bits and pieces of activities are very insignificant especially, as that is largely done by air.
The attempts made to slip containers was not very successful sometime ago. The European Market has so many hurdles such as Global GAP certification to be able to really participate in by our exporters.
The volume is dominated by the quantities required by Nigerians in diaspora.
A few value-added yam products like “ poundo” are fast catching up in the export market.
In dollar terms, we can put a figure of 20-50 million dollars conservatively!
Are we cultivating enough cassava today and do we have potentials for its export. How much can Nigeria earn from cassava export in a year?
There is a very high production of Cassava and we can safely say we have some sufficiency.
Processing is still a factor in the foreign exchange earning potential from Cassava. I cannot speculate on the annual turnover from the export as at now.
How do we mitigate post harvest loss in Nigeria and do farmers actually invest in Agric insurance?
In several ways and NSPRI in Ilorin has many Research findings available to farmers but some are not enforceable largely due to institutional malfunction.
What other challenges are farmers facing and your advise to government?
Marketing of farm produce, transportation, inadequate processing facilities and multiple taxation, among others.