By Olayinka Olawale
Lagos, Aug. 6, 2020 The Lagos State Chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to set up a commodity board that will be saddled with the mopping-up of excess farm produce from farmers in the country.
Its General Secretary, Mrs Abimbola Fagoyinbo, made the appeal in an interview with Newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.
She said that the establishment of such a board was long overdue in the phase of current global challenges that required countries all over the world to re-strategise and prepare for the future.
She said the the board when establyshed, would mop-up excess farm produce and store them in food reserves in preparedness for future crises, pandemic and food scarcity among others.
She said that by so doing, the country would be able to take charge of availability of farm produce during on-and-off season.
Fagoyinbo said that the board would also reduce the burden on farmers, who year in, year out dispose their produce at a loss due to lack of storage facilities in the country.
According to her, the commodity board will be responsible for buying the excess farm produce from the farmers and store them for future purpose and whenever there is need for it.
She said: “This may be done by bringing it out as a government and re-sell it to the masses at the normal price, thereby bridging the gap between plenty and scarcity seasons.
“The board will also address the problem of food wastage which is a very big challenge to the agric space.
“About 40 per cent to 60 per cent of food produce in the country are wasted due to lack of proper storage facilities: temporary or permanent.
“The board will be prepared to address any impending food shortage that may be casued by climate change, pandemic and plan for the period that falls between plenty and scarcity in the country.
“The essence of the board is to ensure that there will not be gap between plenty and scarcity.”
Fagoyinbo said that the board should be initiated by the Federal Government so as to serve as a template for state governments to implement.
“Once it is in place at the federal level, the state governments will key into it and that way, it will go down to the local government levels.
“At least, let government be able to mop-up the excess produce from the farm and let the government absorb it. By so doing when there is need, they will release it to the market,” she said.