Just as the Minister of Agriculture recently dispelled fears over the possibility of food insecurity as a result of the flood disaster, experts in the agriculture sector have also affirmed that there is no reason to worry.
Speaking on our weekend breakfast show; Sunrise, the director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for West Africa, Dr Roberts Asiedu, stated that “with the quantity of food produced in the country, with proper planning and mobilization, we should not have a situation where we have a on long term impact of the flood.”
According to him, the flood will even improve the soil quality because the flood will deposit rich top soil on the flooded farm lands as the flood water is moving fine soil materials from other areas and it will deposit it on the flooded plains.
The agronomist also argued that a number of disease causing organisms that would have damaged crop plants that are surviving in the soil will also be suffocated and killed.
But he warned that their will some level of pressure after the flood as it recedes as farmers rush to late planting.
He enjoined both the government and private sector to ensure that food are transported across the country in the immediate aftermath of the flood disaster to avoid an expected rush.
“There is enough food production in the country and neighbouring country; all efforts must just be made to re-direct the exported farm produce for internal consumption at a good price for the farmers.”
According to the IITA expert, Nigeria produces 67 per cent of the yams produced in the world and the country is the largest producer of cassava in the world, so he emphasised that there is no need to worry.
On addressing the challenge of post-harvest losses, the country director of Harvest Africa, Mr Paul Ilona, also affirmed that the federal government purchases and store a great deal of grains produced across the country, but added that he is not able to confirm the condition in which they are stored.
According to Mr Ilona, the current flood disaster on rough estimate has affected just about 300,000 hectares of cultivated land while the nation’s cultivated land mass exceeds 40 million hectares, so the crop expert also agrees that with adequate planning, there will be no worries about food security after the flood.