Based on the recommendations of the 2020 Wet Season Agricultural Performance Survey Report (APSR), some recommendations have been made, including setting up an Agricultural Trust Fund to cater for farming activities especially in periods of emergency, such as flooding. The first time this recommendation was made was in 2019 by the Acting Executive Director of the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Ilorin, Dr Patricia Pessu, but for a different purpose. Dr Pessu made the recommendation to help finance agricultural research to fast-track agro-economic development and diversify sustainability. She added that the government and the private sector could jointly fund the commission. This recommendation can also be used for the emergency Agricultural Trust Fund, with the government private sector contributing to the fund to achieve both purposes. According to the recommendation, a certain percentage should be used as the emergency fund for situations such as flooding, while the rest can be used to fund research into new agricultural processes.
With the contribution of the agriculture sector to the nation’s economy, there is a need for a more collaborative effort between the government, academia and the private sector to provide technical and financial support for Nigeria’s research institutions and scientists. Agricultural researches should also focus on the need to meet global food security initiatives by first ensuring that Nigeria reaches the goal of self-sufficiency in food production and sustainability. In addition, efforts should be put into finding out how to transform key production systems by strengthening areas where poverty and under-nutrition are concentrated.
In September 2020, it was reported that farmers in Kebbi lost produce worth about N5 Billion, with more than 450,000 hectares of rice plantation submerged in the lowlands, and over 50,000 hectares of millet, sorghum, maize and sugarcane also destroyed in the highlands. The farmers most affected by this are rice farmers; although rice required a great deal of water to grow, extreme flooding can damage the crops rather than help the crops grow. The trust fund can be used for emergency situations such as these to cover up for the shortfalls in production as a result of natural disasters.
As much as the government is providing funding for farmers in terms of interest free loans and MSMEs grants, it is also important that the long-term goals is achieved and one of such ways is by looking into the area of research and how new processes can be used to increase production in the agricultural sector in Nigeria. This will go a long way into achieving self-sufficiency and contributing to global food output.