Farming season in Nigeria will progress slower than usual this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant lockdown in states, farmers have said.

The farmers, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES, said food security would be threatened this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is a deadly respiratory ailment caused by a coronavirus. Nigeria has about 400 confirmed cases, as of Wednesday.

A Benue-based rice farmer, Donald Akule, told this newspaper that as the rains are approaching, farmers are making sceptical preparations to hit the farms.

“The rains are never a waste. Farmers are finding this information (Coronavirus) very confusing to comprehend,” he said. He said preparations for the farming season may be very slow because most of the farming inputs (seeds) come from rural areas and if the rural areas are shut, then there would be a short flow of farming input, and those that arrive would not come as at when due and mechanisation will be shut down.

“Many farmers are in the hard-to-reach areas where little or no information about the pandemic have gotten to them. Hopefully, they will go to the farm.

“This is a very serious situation, now that the shutdown is (almost in) every state of the federation. The fear is where there is food insecurity, people will die more than another pandemic or virus,” he said.

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