The Executive Director, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Dr Olufemi Oladunni, has tasked agricultural practitioners to explore the innovation that social media provided for marketing their agricultural produce.
Oladunni made this known during a media chat with newsmen in Abuja of Thursday.
According to him, now is the time for agricultural practitioners to take advantage of the lockdown by marketing their farm produce using social media platforms.
He also added that thankfully, transportation of food products had also been exempted from the lockdown, adding that this would mitigate the adverse effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.
“First, we should commend the government for exempting agricultural practitioners and every other stakeholder in the agricultural sector from the lockdown.
“Agencies such as ARMTI, National Agricultural Seed Council and other establishments that service the agricultural sector are up and running, and available for farmers and other stakeholders to access the essential services that they provide.
“In addition, the government has set-up fertiliser blending plants in the country to ease access to the very important farm input.
“Moreover, ARMTI is advocating wider adoption of organic agriculture, the inputs are cheap and can be easily sourced around us.
“The practice improves the soil structure; and produces healthy food for human consumption, ” he said.
According to him, one of the realisation from this COVID-19 pandemic is that global demand for crude oil may never be as high as we used to know ever again.
Oladunni added that, encouraging consumption of locally produced goods through taxes and tariffs would also go a long way in sustaining the economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said diversifying the nation’s economy from oil into other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals would also sustain the economy.
“For a nation like Nigeria which depends so much on earnings from the sale of crude oil, this implies dwindling national revenue which will result in poor funding of key sectors of the economy.
“This means that there is an urgent need for Nigeria, more than ever, to diversify its economy to alternative sectors where we have comparative advantage particularly, agriculture which has been the mainstay of our economy even before the discovery of oil.
“It is very true, the pandemic has literally grounded the global economy reduced the need and demand for fossil fuel to an all-time low level, leading to the free fall in the price of crude oil.
“The only aspect that requires help at this time is marketing.
“ Farmers and stakeholders in agricultural commodity value chains need to request for help on storage from government agencies such as National Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI).
“Moreover, now is the time for agricultural practitioners to explore the innovation that social media provides for the marketing of their produce. Thankfully, transportation of food products havs also been exempted from the lockdown, ” he added.
He, however, commended the government (Federal and States) for the responsive and pragmatic way they had been managing the current pandemic.
He also advised agricultural practitioners to adhere strictly with the safety principles of hand washing, social distancing and use of personal protective wears such as face mask, hand gloves to prevent the pandemic. (NAN)