COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND NIGERIA’S SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists (NAAE) wishes to express concern over the long-term impact of #COVID-19 pandemic on the Socio-economic and cultural life of Nigeria and Nigerians. The pandemic lead to the closure of all educational institutions in the country since march 2020 and disrupted some vital agricultural activities, like harvesting of 2019/2020 season’s produce that was ongoing and land preparations and planting for 20202/2021 season. Already, some effects of the pandemic have started manifesting. Prices of food items have risen sharply thus further making it difficult for most Nigerians to afford food items that would provide balanced nutrition. In addition, pupils and students are still kept out of school walls which has heightened fears that they might lose one-year academic work. In order to avoid widespread hunger and starvation in 2021, government must start working on strategies that would ensure that shortages are appropriately supplemented. In particular, postharvest losses which is about 34% of harvest must be prevented as much as possible. On the issues of education, it has become necessary for robust stakeholder consultations to be undertaken and enhanced investments in #ICT that would ensure that online schooling is given a priority in Nigeria should be undertaken. In most countries of the world, public places, buildings and educational institutions are provided the infrastructure to provide Wi-Fi on continuous basis. The current situation where students and pupils are expected to buy their data is not sustainable. It would be necessary to include provision of Wi-Fi as part of conditions for operating a school. It is hoped that all issues on the table concerning resumption of normal academic activities, including the final resolution of all pending issues with #ASUU, are addressed as soon as practicable.