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Okagwa seeks govt’s intervention in agriculture over rising cost of raw materials

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Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt

A major agriculture investor in Nigeria, Chief Dr. Promise Omuruka Okagwa is calling for urgent intervention by the federal government in the agricultural sector to address the rising cost of raw materials.
Dr. Okagwa, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dandavide Fairway Agro Venture, made the call while addressing Journalists on the sideline of the 2024 Worker’s Day celebration on Wednesday.
He raised concerns over the increasing challenges faced by farmers due to soaring costs of raw materials, explaining the urgent need for government intervention to address the mounting pressures on local farmers, exacerbated by issues ranging from foreign exchange shortages to escalating fuel costs.
He said the situation poses great threat to the sustainability of farms, and expressed fears that many farms were on the brink of closure due to financial strain.
The Rivers-born entrepreneur further explained that the situation has forced many farmers to divert funds from other businesses to sustain their agricultural operations.
He also identified foreign exchange challenges as a significant hurdle, particularly since a substantial portion of agricultural inputs in Nigeria are imported, noting that volatility in forex markets has also led to skyrocketing prices for essential materials, further squeezing the margins of already struggling farmers.
Okagwa who added that the issue extends beyond currency fluctuations, emphasized the impact of rising costs of petroleum products, such as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and diesel, on agricultural operations.
He said the dependency on fuel for machinery, transportation, and irrigation exacerbates the financial burden on farmers, driving up the overall cost of production.
“The ripple effects of these challenges are keenly felt in the market, with consumers bearing the brunt of inflated prices for food and local farm produce.”
Dr. Okagwa stressed that the crisis transcends mere economic concerns, stressing that It is a very big challenge affecting the cost of food.
“The affordability and accessibility of nutritious food items are increasingly compromised, posing a threat to food security and exacerbating socioeconomic disparities.”
He however, called on the government to take decisive action to alleviate the burden on farmers and safeguard the agricultural sector’s sustainability, and urged policymakers to implement measures aimed at stabilizing foreign exchange rates, ensuring timely access to affordable credit facilities, and addressing the underlying structural inefficiencies in the supply chain.
“My plea is for the government to intervene in the urgency of the situation.
“The resilience of local farmers and the nation’s food security hinge upon swift and concerted efforts to address the root causes of the crisis and pave the way for a sustainable and thriving agricultural ecosystem,” he said.

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