An agriculture expert in Anambra, Godson Ezenagu, has called on Nigerians to engage in agricultural practices as a measure to cushion the effect of looming food insecurity due to COVID-19.
Mr Ezenagu, a two-time commissioner for Agriculture in Anambra, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday.
The expert said that the aftermath of the global pandemic of Coronavirus and the economic lockdown that followed it, would be acute food shortage.
He said that every family should own a farm no matter how small and called on state governments to roll out incentive to encourage the people.
Eze Agu, who is also a politician, said the long period of stay at home should be time for civil servants, businessmen and artisans to engage in food production.
He said that engaging in food production, did not require people to travel far distance to get to their farms hence the need to embrace it.
According to him, the lockdown period is not the time to stay at home and be idle.
“People should engage the empty land nearest to them, those who don’t have land should rent.
“There is going to be serious food crisis and the best way to forestall it is to go into massive food production.
“Government should encourage people by providing soft loans, affordable and improved inputs, equipment as well as prizes for any individual who cultivated the largest expanse of land.
“They should also provide security for the farms from herdsmen by mobilising community vigillannce team to ensure that these farms are not destroyed, we can’t stop farming because of cattle menace,” he said.
Mr Ezenagu, who supported the partial easing of the lockdown, agreed with the argument that interstate borders should still be restricted to reduce spread of COVID-19 but decried the non-effectiveness of the closures.
He said the figured from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, was still worrisome that total ease of lockdown for full economic activities may cause a national health boomerang.
According to him, the borders should be closed for as long as it is safe to open but unfortunately people are still finding their ways across the states because of the porous policing of the borders.
“It is true that the economy is biting but there should be a balance between saving the economy and protecting public health,” he said.