Demand implementation of 10% for agric budget

Task FG, States, NASS on attract investments into agric sector

As lawmakers decry poor data for agric sector

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

An international nonprofit organization, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, and other stakeholders, weekend, revealed that Nigeria is not on track to end hunger in 2025.

This was made known in a communique after a one-day  Non-State Actors (NSAs) Post National Dialogue & Dissemination on Nigeria’s Performance at the 3rd Biennial Review Exercise on the Implementation of the
information and capacity for CSOs, Smallholder Women Farmers and Media Comprehensive Africa organised by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN)and ActionAid International(AAI).

The communique was endorsed by 31 organisations including some media organisations about Nigeria’s performance in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture
Development Programme (CAADP).

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The report also indicated that smallholder women farmers only have access to 18 per cent of 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; 42.30 per cent access to trainings; 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; On Agricultural Insurance, smallholder women farmers have 4.7 per cent access; On access to land control over land 59 per cent have access to land, 29.77 per cent have control, while only 11.23 per cent are engaged in land governance discussion; While government is making effort for more Public Private Partnership arrangements in Nigeria’s agriculture sector,
smallholder women farmers’ access to such schemes across the country remains below 27 per cent.

The communique reads in part, “Nigeria is reported not to be on track in the following commitments: Recommitment to the Principles and Values of the CAADP process; Enhancing investment financing in agriculture; Ending hunger in 2025; Enhancing resilient to Climate visibility; Enhancing mutual accountability for actions and results.

“We call on Federal and State Executives, National and State Houses of Assembly to upscale public investment in agriculture, and 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 Commitments.

“For improved CAADP Biennial Reporting to the AUC, there should be continuous adoption of the use of CAADP/Malabo indicators at state level and capacity building of stakeholders on the CAADP/Malabo performance indicators.

“Considering the agricultural risks of floods, droughts,fires,pests,and
diseases,cattle destruction of farms, rising insecurity in farms and kidnappings, both Federal and State governments should promote agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers, while addressing security issues that
threatens lives and farms of farmers.

“The agriculture sector requires a separate budget cycle to enable FMARD achieve its mandate. Buffer funds from sources such as Consolidated Oil Revenue, Oil Revenue Surplus, Natural Resource Funds, Climate Resource
Funds should be utilised.

“The National Agricultural Development Fund
(Establishment) Bill, 2019proposed by the Senate Committee on Agriculture  and Rural Development should be considered given the strategic importance of the sector.

“There is need to 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 ports documented, shared,and reviewed to enhance lessons learning and improvement in budget implementation.”

However, the communique lauded collaboration effort by the government, and described it as progressive improvement between Federal and State governments and the Non-State Actors  towards promoting increased investment, transparency, and accountability in public financing of agriculture across the States.

“We commend the Nigerian government for making progress as the 3rdBR report indicated that 51 Member States reported but only one country which is Rwanda is
on track, with 19 Member States including Nigeria classified as progressing well while 31 countries are not on track”, it pointed.

Meanwhile, on sidelines of the one-day dialogue, lawmaker representing Funtua/Dandume Federal Constituency and Chairman House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon Muntari Dandutse Mohammad, said more needs to be done in budgeting for the agricultural sector as part of reducing criminality as young people would be employed and more food produced.

According to Mohammad, the Maputo Declaration means well for Africa’s development, because agriculture is key to success, prosperity and economic stability.

He said: “If governments can invest 10 per cent of their budgets in Agriculture I think we will go a long way, even if it is 20 per cent because considering the fact that most importantly is food we need and surplus food to export outside than depending on importation.

“So I think is timely and it is very important we as lawmakers to collaborate and ensure that we make the budget aline with the Maputo Declaration because we know that there is a lot of issues in terms of economic downturn.

“We are historically determined to reach that level, because this is an agreement which was drafted and agreed so that it will be implemented and for sustainability and for economic development. If it is a design for that it would create value addition and food security for the whole nation.”

However, he pointed that the private sector should take the driver’s seat of the agricultural sector, therefore called on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to ensure monies are properly and adequately for the sector as interventions in order to tackle the worsening food prices and hunger in the land.

He also expressed displeasure over inaccurate data in the agricultural sector, which makes it difficult to plan and deploy resources.

“A reliable data that would give accuracy that would give honest accountability in terms of whatever you provide would be realistic and it was not fabricated data.

“I think is something we have to look into because lack of accuracy even is an impediment in terms of all our planning and effort to ensure we achieve where others did not achieve because somebody can sit on the comfort of room and fabricate data not even going to the field to know on the spot assessment of the actual accuracy or the state and needs of the people”, he said.

Meanwhile, in a goodwill message, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Laoye Jaiyeola, described the CAADP Biennial Review as powder keg of evidence about burning and urgent issues that need immediate attention to ameliorate the pangs and pounding hunger in the land.

Jaiyeola who was represented by the Facilitator, Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission, NESG, Gloria Ekpo, said: “The CAADP Biennial Review is a powder keg of evidence which generates useful insights into ending hunger, reducing poverty, improving nutrition, enhancing social protection, and sustaining good land management and is also key in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“NESG recognizes the importance of working with parliamentarians towards putting in place legislative structures that establishes the mandate for BR accountability in Nigeria.

“This is because we believe as representatives of the people, the legislature can drive systemic accountability, increase appropriation to the sector, champion the tracking of progress among BR indicators as well as set the framework for policy reforms and implementation in order to advance inclusive agricultural transformation.”

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