November 30, 2022

Ministry of Agric, FAO collaborate to repurpose budgets in next 5 years

…target incentivising producers, speed up inclusive agricultural transformation

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA – AS Nigeria’s agricultural sector attracts more of global attention, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, FAO, have collaborated to repurpose agricultural budgets in the next five years.

This was made known by FAO in a statement made available to Vanguard, where it pointed out specifics of the collaboration, which target incetnvising producers, speed up inclusive agricultural transformation as work plan.

According to FAO, the Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies, MAFAP, programme is a leading policy support programme at FAO that works with countries in Africa and South Asia to strategically prioritize, reform and implement food and agricultural policies. By monitoring and analysing public budgets and trade and market policies, MAFAP guides governments to repurpose their agricultural support to accelerate the transformation of agriculture and food systems.

It also collaborates with policymakers to identify priorities for policy and investment reforms in key commodity value chains, and supports implementation to ensure that changes create more nutritious food systems and inclusive markets.

The statement reads in part, “The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have renewed their collaboration for the next five years and signed the first work plan to help repurpose budgets, incentivise producers and speed up inclusive agricultural transformation.

“The renewed collaboration, through the Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) programme – a leading technical and policy support initiative at FAO, covers eight partner countries in subSaharan Africa, including Nigeria.

“The first work plan, for 2022/2023, will involve monitoring public spending devoted to the sector to better understand spending patterns, priorities and bottlenecks, and how public policies affect price incentives for agricultural commodities relative to international prices, influencing farmers’ decisions to produce or trade a commodity.

The statement pointing that Time to rethink, repurpose and rethink, quoted MAFAP Manager and Senior Economist, FAO, Christian Derlagen, saying, “Globally, there is huge momentum for countries to rethink, repurpose and reform their policies on food and agriculture.

“We are pleased to renew and strengthen the MAFAP programme in Nigeria, standing ready to support the Nigerian Government with economic analyses and advice to drive agricultural transformation forward for agrifood sector growth, better nutrition and affordable diets, and easier market access for farmers.”

Work is already underway with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation, to review the amount and breakdown of federal public expenditures on food and agriculture.

The FAO team is also performing an analysis to better understand the effects of public policies on key agricultural commodity prices, and the effect of market access costs within a given value chain on prices that producers fetch.

This analysis can reveal whether farmers are incentivised to produce or trade these staple foods, thus helping efforts towards food security and nutrition from a public policy perspective.

FAO Representative in Nigeria, Fred Kafeero, said: “MAFAP’s technical and policy support is aligned with new FAO’s Global Strategic Framework 2022-2031 to build more sustainable and efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, while leaving no one behind.”

This portfolio of technical and policy support is expected to contribute to the implementation of the recently adopted National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP).

While, appreciating FAO’s support, the Director of Planning and Policy Coordination, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ibrahim Bello, said, “The new National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) is a six-year national agricultural policy, aimed at sustainable development of national technological and innovative capacity to fast-track increased agricultural productivity, ensure resilience and growth of the agricultural sector.

“A shift from subsistence farming to a modern agriculture, to not only guarantee food security but contribute widely to economic diversification and job creation.

“The FMARD continues to appreciate FAO’s support on the MAFAP programme and related ones, with regards to policy options and strategic choices for identifying and implementing reforms in the sector to achieve inclusive agricultural transformation”, Bello added.