Agropark, a farm estates management firm, has declared its preparedness to cater, significantly, for the expected rise in food demand across the country after the coronavirus pandemic.
The company said it is investing massively in various food crops and livestock in readiness to take a huge market share of the post-COVID-19 food demand.
Chief Operating Officer, Agropark, Mr. Ayodele Alabi, said “we are diversifying into staple crops like maize, sweet corn, soybeans, rice, beans, and we have cultivated about 130 hectares of maize; 10 hectares of sweet corn; 40 hectares of rice; 85 hectares of land is ready for second ploughing for soybeans; 100 hectares of land is at 65 per cent completion for beans cultivation and for livestock, we have signed contracts with off-taker partners with a strong e-commerce platform, which has taken about 20 per cent of our stock in four weeks.”
The moves, he added, were done “because we understand that post-COVID-19, the demand for food will rise, and we are strategically positioning to take a huge market share.”
Managing Director, Agrecourse Ltd, a crowd-funding platform for agriculture, Mr. Ayoola Oluga, had earlier admitted that agriculture had made a quantum leap in the last one year, especially since the closure of land borders by the Federal Government among other efforts by government to boost agricultural production in the country. He stated that many smallholder farmers had reaped the benefits of increased production and increased income.
However, the advent of coronavirus has eroded much of the progress recorded in agriculture owing to the lockdown that put a hold on the businesses of off-takers who are major clients of investors in agriculture.
Some investors in the sector who are feeling the pinch of the coronavirus-induced lockdown in their businesses lament the huge losses they have incurred since it kicked off early this year.
The Lagos State chapter Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Otunba Femi Oke, stated that most farm produce have short shelf life and not selling them quickly upon harvesting results into post-harvest losses.
Oke said, “there are some things we produce that we have to sell at stipulated time and by the time they exceed that time it will be a loss to the farmer. For instance, there is glut in eggs right now because poultry farmers have produced a lot of eggs and COVID-19 affected sales.”
For his part, Mr. Rotimi Olibale Oloye, National President, Catfish and Allied Fish Framers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN), said, “our product is mostly used for social events, thus the lockdown has very serious negative effects on our business.