Babatunde helps farmers to understand exports and export specifications. His personal relationship with the farmers and letters that he writes to them every Friday, allow him to have a close understanding of farmers and support them to expand their knowledge to become more adept farmers.

When you consider the past year and COVID, has agriculture overcome and persisted despite the struggles?
Farmers have built up their resilience day by day. Due to COVID, the market was disrupted and trying to regain balance has become increasingly difficult. Not only has COVID been an issue, but coupled with climate change, it has created a disruption for the food system and supply chain. Actors within the farming system and the supply chain are still counting their losses from the devastation of this last year, and many actors have not recovered. In fact, in Nigeria, food inflation has increased almost 20%. Costs of imports and import production are incredibly high. More and more people in Nigeria have been entering into poverty due to COVID simply because they can’t afford basic food. At this rate, it seems like we’re falling even further behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, through everything, people have persisted and still hold hope for the new year.

What do you hope to see differently in 2022 and is it realistic?
In terms of realistic achievements for 2022, I hope to see the government implement some short-term intervention schemes, such as subsidies, and building up a market linkage system again. The private sector needs to become more driven towards helping farmers and rebuilding the market system. In the long run we have a blueprint to help farmers!

Are there any major milestones you hope to see achieved in 2022?
Firstly, I want to see an increase in food safety and an additional 30% of new farmers gaining an understanding of food safety. In terms of productivity, I would like to see an increase by 15%. A key aspect is also access to extension services. At least 40% more farmers should have access to extensions services. Lastly, more implementation of structure and framework for industrial processing. When there is more industrial processing there is an increase in demand for raw produce. As it transcends from one stage to another, the volume of production can increase.

Are you optimistic about 2022?
I am positive to write more letters to the farmers, and write good things, and to share more information.