Poverty, Prices of food

Calls for synergy between FG, States on agric policiess

Say wants timely release of agric budgetary allocation

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As food prices continue to soar high on daily basis, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, and 40 Budget Committee Group, BCG, members across seven States and the FCT, Wednesday, called on Federal Government to secure lives of farmers with insurance cover to sustain food production and boost food security.

The call was part of other recommendations made in a communique endorsed by 28 Civil Society Organisations after a2-day Public Financing for Agriculture Budget Committee Advocacy (PFA-BCA) Summit held in Abuja, which was organised by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in collaboration with the Budget Committee Group (BCG) of Bauchi, Gombe, Ondo, Delta, Kwara, Ebonyi, Kogi States including the Federal Capital Territory.

Meanwhile, the FCT Budget Committee Group, leader, Bertha Ogbimi, reading the communique at a press conference, along with Founder, Environmental and Rural Mediation Center (ENVIRUMEDIC), Chief Monday Itoghor pointed at some key observations during their meeting that there is a marginal increase in agricultural budget allocations in some States between 2012 – 2021, however, these allocations still fell below the Maputo/Malabo Declaration benchmark of 10 per cent; without solving food-farm security issues, we cannot solve the national and states security issues; smallholder women farmers have continually been given a back seat; and others.

READ ALSO: NSN bemoans negative impact of insecurity, Covid-19 on food security

 “We call on Federal and State Executives, National and State Houses of Assembly to Scale Up Public Investment in Agriculture. Ensure timely consideration, passage and total budget releases as a strategic approach to increase food production, reduce hunger and poverty and achieve the Maputo/Malabo Commitment.

“Public investment in agriculture should be scaled up in the specific areas of Extension Services, Access to Credit, Women in Agriculture, Youth in Agriculture, Appropriate Labour-Saving Technologies, Inputs, Post-Harvest Losses Reduction Supports (processing facilities, storage facilities, trainings, market access, etc.), Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA)/Agroecology, Research and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as Coordination.

“Considering the agricultural risk; rising insecurity in farms; farm raiding, cattle destructions, and kidnappers, climate and other natural disasters, farmers are not encouraged to continue farm practices without risk covers. Hence, both Federal and State governments should promote the enrollment of agricultural insurance policies for smallholder farmers, while challenging the poor security issues that threatens our farms.

“Strengthen the monitoring of implementation of Agricultural projects in the budget by all relevant stakeholders such as FMARD, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, State Ministries of Agriculture and Agriculture Committees in the NASS and State Assemblies, Farmers and CSOs using an adapted CAADP Results measurement framework and reports documented, shared, and reviewed to enhance lessons learning and improvement in budget implementation.”

They also called for awareness creation of new agric policy, “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, should create awareness/sensitization of stakeholders on the new agricultural policy as part of effort towards promoting improved citizen participation in budget process.”

The communique also stated that “The existing relationship between the Federal and State Governments and the Non-States Actors should be strengthened in a bid to promote accountability and transparency in public resource management.

“There is a need to bring more smallholder women farmers to the front of the budget planning discussion at national and state levels. Women need to be brought side by side their male counterpart in the discussion and planning of agricultural budget and its implementation.

“The yearly Federal and States agriculture budget should be more gender responsive by providing line items for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture that address specific challenges that affect women farmers different from men as well as avoid lumping up budget for women farmers and other groups such as youths.

The communique called for synergy between FG, States on agric policies, “There is a need to have a State investment plan for the agricultural sector. The national investment plan should be a compilation of the State developed agricultural investment plans that contains state crops with comparative advantages. Such plan will highlight the commitment of the states, PPP windows and their alignment to the national economic policy and development plans.”

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