Impacts of Corona Virus (Covid-19) Pandemic on Agriculture in Nigeria

alt: = "picture showing women working on rice farm, and poultry farm"

Table of contents

  • Introduction 
  • Negative impacts
  • Positive impacts
  • Conclusion 
  • Recommendations

Generally, the corona virus pandemic had negative impacts on Nigeria’s economy without Agriculture being an exception. Agriculture was the least affected when compared to other sectors like manufacturing, construction, services, healthcare etcetera. In essence, agriculture was impacted both negatively and positively by the nationwide lockdown, as some players in the agricultural sector were counting their losses, others were counting gains. At the heat of the pandemic all everyone cared for were foods and medicine. At a time all other economic activities were put on hold and interstates movement was prohibited, agricultural activities and movement of food commodities were allowed.

Negative Impacts

The farmers were the worst hit, as the lockdown period was at the farming season. There was shortage of labour. Many industries adopted remote method of work leveraging on ICT, agriculture industry was left behind as farming activities take place on the farms expect for distribution, marketing and customer services, extension services  ICT platforms can be utilized. Even at that, agricultural marketing and extension services can’t be complete without physical movement of goods and on-the-farm demonstrations respectively. Farmers couldn’t easily evacuate their produce from the farms to the markets across Nigeria because of restrictions on vehicular movements across the country, although the lockdown was partially relaxed to allow passage of food items when people started experiencing shortage of food in the markets.  The off takers and middle man were not forth coming due to fear of the Covid-19 pandemic, and nationwide lockdown. The security agencies were only allowing food-laden trucks, the marketers therefore had hard times getting to either farm or markets to buy the farm produce. The middle men took advantage of the situation and offered farmers ridiculous prices for their produce. This led to loss of revenue by the farmers. 

alt: = "picture of tomatoes wasting on the floor of the road"
Tomatoes Wasting on the Road 

The farmers couldn’t easily have access to seedlings, inputs and equipment for the year’s farming.  Companies, Markets for agricultural allied products were closed. These agro allied companies lost revenue as their factories were idle. Most of the factories using farm produce as raw materials were either shut or not working at full capacity during the lockdown. 

The poultry and fish farmers experienced huge loss of investment to mortality of their birds and fishes as they were not able to access enough feeds at affordable prices. Feeds prices have increased by over 100%

The upsurge of food inflation is not unconnected to the impact of corona virus pandemic on agriculture. As the distribution channels were disrupted during the lockdown, cost of food items and other agricultural commodities rose up. The food inflation extended to 2021 because the farmers were not able to cultivate enough in 2020 farming season to meet up the expected demand in 2021. Nigeria’s food inflation has risen from 14.98% in March, 2021 when the novel corona virus pandemic entered Nigeria to 21.79%  in February, 2021. To reduce the food inflation rate, the ministry of finance had announced reductions on import tariffs for tractors and haulage vehicles to enable farmers produce in large quantities, and to reduce costs of transportation. 

alt: = "Nigeria's food inflation from 2020 to 2021"
Nigeria Food Inflation BTW March, 2020 - February, 2021

Read also: More Profits for Cocoa Farmers as Nestle, Others Begin Recycling of Cocoa Fruit Pulp as Substitute for Sugar in Chocolate 

Corona virus affected global trade. Export of agricultural products especially cash crops cocoa beans, cotton etc. from Nigeria were hampered. Man power at offices of government agencies in charge of foreign trades was cut down, and the few at work prioritized essential goods coming in to the country. The destination countries were also on lockdown and we’re not read to receive such consignments. These affected the agriculture exporters, the framers of those crops, and Nigeria couldn’t earn foreign exchange through agriculture. In other words, it prevented Nigeria from accessing global agricultural market. The Nigerian Customs Service and Nigerian Ports Authority gave priority to importation of essential goods (foods and pharmaceutical products).

Inability of the agribusinesses to pay back their loans and cost of finance. Some farmers and other agro allied businesses are been faced having constraints on meeting up with their loan repayment obligation to money deposit banks. Some banks extended the payment periods without moratorium which leads to borrowers paying more interests on the same principal.

Positive Impacts 

There were few positive impacts or advantages of the pandemic on Nigeria’s agricultural sector. One of them is clearance sell of food grains, poultry products and food products. During the lockdown occasioned by the pandemic, many well-to-do individuals, groups, and governments at different levels supplied food grains to the less privileged in the country. This was a huge sell for the farmers, food manufacturers and distributors. Many food merchants emptied their warehouses. The Nigerian government opened the food reserves, and the grains were shared an palliative. These silos will need restocking. 

Another is rise in demand for local products. As global trade was interrupted and foreign goods were not coming in as usual, those who had tastes for foreign commodities started patronizing Nigerian produce. 

Compelling individuals, corporate organizations, government to see the need to invest more in agriculture. Sequel to this, Nigeria government through the  Federal Ministry of Agriculture initiated Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan, AJFP in collaboration with the Project for Agricultural Co-ordination and Execution (PACE) Secretariat to support the small holder farmers by giving them 0% interest input loan to cushion the effects of the pandemic, and link them up with off-takers who would buy the outputs at reasonable prices in real time. Having recognized the viability of agriculture, many people who lost their jobs including the youths are embracing farming as a business. Agriculture is one of the Business Opportunities During and After Corona Virus (Covid-19) Pandemic 


In a nutshell, the impacts of corona virus pandemic on agriculture in Nigeria are:

  • Shortage of  labour
  • Disruption in planting 
  • Limited access to seedlings, inputs and equipment
  • Low output 
  • High cost of transportation and disruption in the distribution channels 
  • Low pricing of farm produce by merchants leading to losses on the side of farmers especially the smallholder farmers. 
  • Food wastage
  • Food scarcity
  • Inflation 
  • Limited access to global markets
  • Loss of investment 
  • Loss of revenue
  • Rise in demand for local products
  • Clearance sell

Like every other sector, it will take years, and good investment for Nigeria to recover from the negative impacts of Covid-19 on the agricultural sector. If the rail transportation network is functional, it would be easier to haul products to various parts of the country without interruptions. 

Why Agricultural Insurance is Considered as Special Line of Insurance 


  • Food sufficiency is not all about production, but also preservation, storage and efficient distribution channels 
  • Smallholder farmers are prone to crises due to their limited access to resources, credit facilities, healthcare. Government and financial institutions should henceforth create deliberate  policies, programs to empower and protect this community against future shocks.
  • Farmers should be linked to off takers that can offer better prices to farmers for their produce, and also mitigate food wastage.
  • Government should ensure food banks are established in all regions with operational puffer in stock to meet up with emergencies and avert food crisis 
  • There should be efficient transportation system for agricultural products 
  • Deliberate and massive investments need to made in the agricultural sector so as to make Nigeria a food sufficient nation without depending on import that can be affected by global crisis
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