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Madedor: Nigerian farmers are the heroes of COVID-19 pandemic

Madedor: Nigerian farmers are the heroes of COVID-19 pandemic
August 11
14:05 2020

Victoria Madedor, an agribusiness expert and group head of business development at BOI Investment and Trust Company, a subsidiary of the Bank of Industry Nigeria, says Nigerian farmers are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Speaking via TheCable Live interview with Oge Ekeanyanwu on Saturday, Madedor said citizens were not concerned with luxury goods during the pandemic but rather food items.

“The picture that is portrayed about farmers discourages new entrants because it is one of poverty and hunger which is not actually the truth,” she said.

“The support we need to give those in the sector is to project the right and tell the truth about what they are doing. We need them, they are the heroes of today. They are the heroes that are helping us survive through this pandemic because people no longer think of luxury goods, they are thinking of survival.”

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The agribusiness expert said there is a need to look into the activities of middlemen in the sector because farmers had to reduce prices at the farm gate even though demand was high in the urban area during the pandemic.

MANUFACTURERS IMPORT RAW MATERIALS THAT ARE LOCALLY PRODUCED

Madedor, who is the co-initiator of Support4Africansmes which focuses on telling the stories of African farmers, said manufacturers often import raw materials that are locally produced in the country because they do not know that the products are available in the country.

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“Most people do not even know that we produce these raw materials locally and they import the same raw materials and it becomes expensive for us to use,” she explained.

“We should understand that the raw materials are here, we just need to cluster them properly and structure it well.”

Giving the example of industrial prospects of egg powder, she said farmers need to be advised on reducing the use of antibiotics and value addition so that multinationals and pharmaceutical companies can start buying from Nigeria rather discarding eggs on the farm.

Madedor explained that the Bank of Industry has a specific desk focused on food processing and agro-processing with grants available to encourage value addition.

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“We need logistics to be put aright. Logistics has affected the sector largely. During the lockdown, we saw that moving from the north to the south that would take 24 hours in the worst case took 72 hours in some cases because of the road blockages.

“Most times, these farmers are not desperate about funding. They are more desperate about access to the market.”

“Farmers need supports in terms of inputs like seeds and fertilizers not as a palliative but more as availability. We don’t need to make jamboree about it. Agriculture is a business, not a charity and must be treated as such. Over time, we have treated it as a charity case where things need to be handed over. Whether you give it to them or not, they will find a way to get it because they find joy in providing food for humanity,” she said.

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