The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos State Chapter, on Tuesday in Lagos urged governors in the South-West to declare a state of emergency on household agricultural produce.
AFAN Deputy Chairman in Lagos State, Asking Agbayewa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the call became necessary following the continuous increase in prices of food commodities on daily basis.
He said that some food commodities had become so expensive that an average citizen could no longer afford it.
According to him, food is a necessity and not a luxury as it has become in recent times.
He said the state of emergency would allow the government to focus on household commodities.
He said the price of some agricultural produce, especially beans, had increased by over 400 per cent.
“We need to declare a state of emergency in the agricultural space because of high food inflation in the last three years.
“We should begin to look inward on how we can make food available at affordable prices.
“We now found out that most of the food that are on the high side are the ones being transported down from the North to the South-West, especially beans.
“The truth of the matter is that we can also plant those food here to boost self-sufficiency.
“Right now, beans is on the high side, the price of beans skyrocketed by over 400 per cent that people can no longer purchase it.
“Before now, a bag of beans was between N20,000 and N30,000 but now it is being sold at over N100,000. Government needs to find a way to address this problem,” he said.
Agbayewa told NAN that government needed to support farmers in the South-West to go into beans cultivation and other household foods.
According to him, there is nothing stopping farmers in the South-West from cultivating beans to reduce the price and ensure availability.
“That is why, as an association, we are canvassing that a state of emergency be declared in Lagos and South-West region as a whole.
“Right now, a bag of beans is N100,000 which has never happened before.
“Yet we have soil, we have land where we can plant this beans in South-West.
“This is why we are advising them to declare a state of emergency in the region, if it is constitutional,” he said.
Agbayewa listed some the factors responsible for food inflation to include high cost of transportation, multiple levies, insecurity, banditry and low production.
“If you look at the situation right now in the North, for farmers to go into their farmland, they have to pay bandits and during harvest, they suffer the same thing.
“Also, bringing food from the north to the south is a major challenge because of multiple levies collected on each truck. There are so many levies collected by federal, state and local governments.
“Also, increase in price of diesel is a challenge.
“All these levies put together are being put on the produce and that is why the price of food is on the high side on a daily basis,” he said.
He urged the state governments to invest more in agriculture in order to replicate agric practice in the North to the South-West.
“It is high time government in the South-West look at the household food being produced in the north and replicate it here.
“Nothing is stopping us in cultivating yam, beans, tomatoes, pepper and onions in large scale too.
“Government must pay attention to food security and boost self-sufficiency,” he said. (NAN)