We’re encouraged with report on Nigeria’s agric sector performance — FG

As ECOWAS charges members to close gaps in food production

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

A non-profit making international organization, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Wednesday, tasked government at all levels on ensuring 10 per cent budgetary allocation to agriculture in order to boost food production in Nigeria.

This was stated by the Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, in an address of welcome at the ‘National Dialogue & Dissemination on Nigeria’s Performance at 3rd Biennial Review Exercise on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP)’.

Obi pointed that after the Malabo Declaration for 10 per cent of budgetary allocation to be for the agricultural sector across Africa, the Nigerian government’s budgetary allocation for the sector has not been encouraging, because it has remained between three and five per cent.

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She also explained that essence of organizing the ‘National Dialogue & Dissemination on Nigeria’s Performance at 3rd Biennial Review Exercise on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP) is to disseminate the report of Nigeria’s performance in the 3rd Biennial Review Process to stakeholders.

She said it will also to have conversations around the successes as well as challenges encountered with the 3rd Biennial Review processes to better prepare and improve the process of the 4th Biennial Review cycle.
According to her, the data/information AAN collected through the VABKIT reflected the lived realities of smallholder women farmers across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and it shows that nationwide, smallholder women farmers currently have only 18 per cent access to processing facilities, 16.60 per cent access to storage facilities, 13.50 per cent access to off-takers/access to markets, 9.60 per cent access to transportation for agricultural produce, and 42.30 per cent access to trainings.

She added that on extension services, smallholder women farmers have access to only 5.26 per cent farm demonstrations and 19.47 per cent farmers’ field schools. On agricultural credit, they have access to less than 23 per cent of existing credit facilities, and only 4.77 per cent access to agricultural insurance.

On access to and control over land, about 59 per cent of them have access to land, 29.77 per cent have control, while only 11.23 per cent are engaged in land governance discussions. While government is making effort to improve the space for more Public Private Partnerships, PPP, arrangements in Nigeria’s agriculture sector, smallholder women farmers’ access to such schemes across the country remains below 27 per cent.

She said: “For Nigeria to be on track in meeting the 2014 Malabo Declaration Commitments, going forward, we hope that the three tiers of government would commit 10 per cent of their annual budget to the agriculture sector required to support at least six per cent growth rate for the sector as postulated in the CAADP framework.

“And investments should focus on strategic 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.”

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry Of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, represented by Director, Agriculture Land and Climate Change Management, Oshadiya Olanipekun, commended the report reflecting encouraging performance of the Nigerian agricultural sector since 2017-2021.

Umakhihe said, “The introduction of biennial review (BR) exercise as a tool for regular tracking on the progress for implementation of CAADP amongst member-states by the African Union Commission is commendable for achieving the desired results. Nigeria actively participated at the inaugural biennial review exercise in 2017, the second biennial review in 2019 and the third BR in 2021.

“The progressive performance of the Nigeria’s Agriculture sector at the last three cycle of the Biennial Review is encouraging, as it reflects the present Administration’s commitment and investment in diversifying the nation’s economy from oil-based economy to an agriculture and solid mineral – driven economy.

“This is justified by appreciable steady 25 per cent level of the Agriculture sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP in the last few years, in spite of the prevailing challenges of security, climate change and covid-19 to the development of the economy.”

However, according to him, in repositioning the sector and enabling agribusiness undertakings in the country, the Ministry prioritizes deliverables sector include rural infrastructure provision, intensification of research and innovation, land management, technology application, extension service delivery, agricultural financing, value chain development, youth empowerment, food reserve and food quality.

“In this context, Government is determined to achieve the national goal, SDGs and continental initiatives through the robust implementation of the re-focused National Development Plan (NDP 2021 – 2025) and the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP 2022-2027), to always ensure food security, economic diversification and wealth creation in the country”, he said.

He added that evidence based data for effective policy formulation and tracking of performance is being strengthened with the concept of the National Agricultural Data Management Information System (NADMIS).

“It is to facilitate quality data collection, analysis, harmonization and storage for overall planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting initiatives, programmes and projects at the global, continental, regional and national levels”, he said.

However, in a goodwill message, the Head of Agriculture and Food Security Division, ECOWAS Commission, Ernest Aubee, charged ECOWAS member States on closing gaps in food production.
“The Biennial Report will have no meaning if we do not disseminate the information to the policy makers, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, technical experts, farmers, and the general populace.

“This initiative of ActionAid is highly commendable also of the technical team for the good work. Now, reports do not have any meaning if we do not introduce the recommendations. If you look at the Biennial Reports not just of Nigeria you would see areas of achievements, gaps and challenges.

“Therefore it is very important that all other stakeholders should look at ways of consolidating Nigeria’s and at the same time see how to feel the gaps. We want to congratulate Nigeria and other African countries for the progress recorded in reporting.

“But at this point in time we need to work hard. We need to provide reliable and accurate data that can stand the test of time so at the end of the day we can report accurately, and the recommendations that come out of the process is not to criticize any country, but to make us perform better.

“In the light of the current global food crisis, Governments in the region should invest more in the sector. Increased investments will have positive multiplier effects”, he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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