An agricultural firm, Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) based in Ga’ate, Kokona LGA of Nasarawa State, on Tuesday, said it lost over N200 million due to the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on its activities.
National Coordinator/Managing Director of NFGCS, Tedheke Retson, who disclosed this while conducting some journalists around the farm, said the nationwide lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the #EndSARS protests took heavy tolls on the operations of the farm leading to colossal losses.
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He described 2020 as a turbulent year for their farm and investors as the restrictions of movements made it difficult for them to move their farm produce and products to the market.
“It was a very tough year with markets because if you don’t move goods, you cannot sell and if you don’t sell, you cannot make money; if you are not making money, you are not surviving.
“We lost money; when we were to move some of our cows to the South, we could not because of the restriction of movement; we lost money with #EndSARS protests because with the protest came the opening of borders and foreign rice flooded Lagos.
“Hence, we lost money in so many ways but at the end of the day, what you must keep doing is to keep building since at the end, it is a value that determines longevity.
“It is a value that determines process and productivity and because the farm has been able to build value over the years, it was easier for us,” he said.
He, however, expressed gratitude to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for supporting the farms with some funds last December.
“Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria supported the farm with N734m with the hope of increasing that because they see the farm as a local content-driven project, Nigerian project with Local content and the project has kept on creating employment reducing joblessness and increasing productivity for the greater good of our people,” he added.
‘Rural community, potential goldmines’
Reston said rural communities in Nigeria would be a goldmine of economic development if only governors will set aside 10% of their revenues to develop them.
“It is time for states to commit 10% of their monthly revenues towards developing rural communities; that is the goldmine because once you develop rural communities, you take away insecurity and create opportunities.
“We must begin to develop rural Nigeria such that it becomes impossible for Boko Haram to go and recruit because these guys have got something gainful they are holding onto.
He said the job opportunities that abound in the agricultural sector far outweigh that of the oil and ICT sectors.
“Look there is no job that the ICT sector can create that can match 10% of what the agricultural sector can create.
“The oil sector does not have the capacity to create 5% of the jobs the agricultural sector can create”, he said.
He urged the government to build the needed infrastructures and create an enabling environment for the agricultural sector to blossom.