Climate change has become a regular aggregator to production and comes in the form of flood, early or late spell or irregular pest infestation. In Nigeria, the situation didn't improve. For instance, the ginger communities in Kaduna were severely affected by bacterial wilt that ravaged a significant farmland leading to loss of revenue. Currently, the prices of ginger are at an all time high and it is projected to still increase by at least 100%. Obviously, the supply chain is adversely affected, especially for the export market.

Asides from this, the removal of gas or fuel subsidies by the government of Nigeria has aggravated food inflation. The removal happened at the beginning of the season (especially in the Northern region where a large chunk of food is produced). The sudden increase in the price of fuel had a ripple effect on the prices of inputs for production. Sadly, many farmers reduced the quantity of crops cultivated and in other cases where farmers have planted (in the southern region), farmers also reduced the quantity of inputs applied (especially fertilizers) in their farms. This has affected productivity and outputs of agricultural produce, forcing prices to increase (food inflation). The food inflation increased drastically from 24.21% as at January 2023 to about 31.52% in October 2023 according to Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Sadly, it seems this trend might continue if nothing is done urgently.

In my opinion, we need to subsidize major staple foods as a cushion effect to ease people's suffering as food inflation increases the number of hungry people and also people are more prone to hidden hunger, which has a long time negative effect on human resources and productivity.

Due to the high cost of inputs, there would be an increase in fake inputs (cheaper option) or reduction in the quality of farm inputs. Government agencies need to step in to regulate, monitor and sanction erring companies and individuals to reduce fake and low-quality inputs especially as farmers prepare for the rainy season. Furthermore, subsidize inputs for farmers all throughout the 2024 season (including early distribution of the inputs, that is, from February for the rainy season and August for the dry season). These are short term palliatives that are needed urgently to cushion the effects.

As we round off this year, I would like to appreciate the farmers who through thin and thick have consistently produced the food we eat. May your labour be greatly rewarded in the new year as we put more efforts to make it a reality.

Your response is needed here. What do you think can be done to change this narrative?