By Felicia Imohimi
ActionAid and other stakeholders have urged the Federal and state governments to promote insurance for smallholder farmers across the country to mitigate agricultural risks confronting farmers.
According to the stakeholders, the challenges that are posing threat to farmers’ lives and crop production are floods, droughts, fires, pests and diseases, cattle destruction of farms, rising insecurity in farms and kidnappings.
They made the call in a communique issued on Monday, in Abuja at the end of the Non-State Actors (NSAs), Post National Dialogue and Dissemination on Nigeria’s Performance at the 3rd Biennial Review (BR).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise is on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The dialogue is organised by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) to provide information and capacity for CSOs, Smallholder Women Farmers (SWOFON) and media networks to better engage the post 3rd BR process and emerging policy issues.
The communique observed that farms were abandoned due to security threats and natural disasters.
According to the communique, making farms safe and funding agricultural mechanisation will not only create more food but also jobs to engage restless youths that have turned to crime for a living.
The stakeholders called on federal and state executives to scale up public investment in agriculture and ensure timely consideration, passage and total budget releases.
It also described the measure as a strategic approach to increase food production, reduce hunger and poverty and achieve the Maputo/Malabo Commitments of allocation of 10 per cent annual budget to agriculture.
“Public investment in agriculture should be scaled up in the specific areas of extension services, access to credit, women and youths in agriculture, appropriate labour-saving technologies, irrigation and Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture ((CRSA).
“Other areas are inputs, postharvest losses reduction supports (processing facilities, storage facilities, trainings and market access), agroecology, research and development, monitoring and evaluation, as well as coordination,” the communique said.
The communique observed that federal and states’ annual budgetary allocations and expenditure performances remained low in quantity and quality, falling below the Maputo/Malabo Declaration minimum of 10 per cent.
“Regrettably, the late passage of budget and release of fund continue to impede capacity of federal and state governments, drive socio-economic development, including food security within diversification of the economy towards agriculture.”
The communique observed that based on the 3rd BR, Nigeria was on track in the commitment on halving poverty through agriculture by 2025, while the reality on ground suggested otherwise.
It said that the reality was anchored on the need to improve on the fragile reported progress in the commitment on halving poverty through agriculture by 2025.
“The real outcomes and impacts will translate into improvements in food price, poverty rate, nutrition status, access to agricultural finance and agricultural value addition.
“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,
“Other commitments are Ending Hunger by 2025, Enhancing Resilience to Climate Variability and Enhancing Mutual Accountability for Actions and Results,’’ it said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Muftau Adediran/Grace Yussuf