Chukwuka, a greenhouse farmer, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday that the pandemic had restricted local farmers’ access to farming inputs and materials, hence making their jobs more tedious.
“Even though we can access our farms, we still do not have access to a lot of farming inputs. Those selling farming inputs and machinery have not been allowed to open shop.
“We struggle to get a lot of the inputs we need in farming. That is one of the challenges we face farming at this period.
“Presently a lot of farmers are also finding it hard to procure seeds for the planting season, so they cannot replant at this time.
“Then, for those that still get a means to buy seeds for planting; they buy them at very exorbitant prices. If farmers are unable to plant at some time it is going to affect food supply in the country,’’ Chukwuka said.
He decried the inability of farmers to get seeds to buy this planting season, saying that by the time the rains would be over, there might be food security issues.
Chukwuka said that this would, in turn, also reflect in food prices, as the cost of food items might likely go up because the farmers would want to break even.
He added that the delay in rainfall this year might also negatively impact on agro-produce harvest as farmers did not have an early start in planting season.
“The fact that the rains came late this year is also a major factor we should look out for when it comes to agro-produce harvests this year.
“Even though some farmers have already set in place irrigation systems on their farms, a lot of Nigerian farmers depend on rainfall agriculture. So, that definitely will affect food production this year.
“Then coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, if it does not end soon, it will most definitely affect food production this year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic affects both greenhouse farming system as well as the traditional farming systems because the only difference between both systems is irrigation and rainfall.
“The effect of the pandemic cuts across all sectors of agriculture in the country and all the relevant value chains,” Chukwuka said.