The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has warned that the country may face starvation in 2021 due to the lockdown across the nation caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim Mam, the President of the association made this known in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday.
“This year 2020, we are at least better off because we have enough food on ground but 2021 we are going to face clear starvation, not just hunger because of lockdown and restriction of movement of people since farmers cannot move to their farms.
“Already rainy season has set in so, if the maize producers, soybeans farmers could not go to their farms that is a threat to poultry industry.
“This is because 70 per cent of the raw materials for poultry industry, especially poultry production is soya and maize. We have two issues, which are the lockdown, security and activities of banditry.
“And we have minimum time now because if we lose the month of May, we have gone deep into the rainy season and it is the only season you cannot catch up with,” Ibrahim decried.
The president of PAN, however, urged the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibility to secure farmers by mobilising them go to their farms and produce food for the country.
Ibrahim noted that lifting the restriction of movement of farmers and timely mobilising them to farm would forestall the foreseen starvation of the country in 2021.
“`We need to wake up, the government needs to wake up to its duties because we are generally experiencing terrible and tough times.’’
He suggested that priority of the government should be to secure its human resources in the phase of the current pandemic and after, saying that sucg measures were being practiced in developed countries.
Ibrahim said that in securing the human resources, the populace must be provided with good food to enable them stand the test of time and ensure their survival.
According to him, every sector of life needs human being. Doctors cannot go to work without eating food, your subject cannot go to their duty post without eating food, your machines are being coordinated by human beings.
“So, if you don’t secure your human resources or when you secure your human resources it is this resources that will come back to produce more, then macro economy will start to take off.
“That is the more reason why government should emphasis and commit more resources to agriculture that is crop production, horticulture, poultry, livestock, fishery among others.
“So if you invest in agriculture, it can turn our economy within one to two years.
“We are lucky in this country that most of our population are at productive stage and agriculture is one of the sectors that can employ or cater for all categories of people the uneducated, educated, semi and educated among others.
“All of them have vacancies in the agricultural sector.
“So, if you mobilise people to farm and create employment food is going to be cheaper and it will boost our development because if you move round all the developed economies; you will discover that food is the cheapest thing.
“This is because they have given attention to agriculture, so government really needs to give attention and resources to develop the agriculture sector,” he said.