FG urged to create agriculture fund to check food crisis

Food commodities

ActionAid Nigeria and other stakeholders in agriculture have pleaded with the Federal Government to create a separate agriculture emergency fund to check food crisis in the country.

They advised further that such intervention should be outside the 2023 agriculture budget.

The stakeholders — Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) Non-State Actors Coalition (CNC) — made the call at a news conference in Abuja.

They noted that 21 states and FCT required urgent assistance on food production based on the Cadre Harmony report released in March.

According to the organisations, the states are Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi State, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Edo, Enugu State, Gombe State, Jigawa, Kaduna State, Kano State, Katsina State, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Sokoto State, Yobe and Zamfara.

“The Cadre Harmony report released in March, after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine war, indicates that 21 states and FCT require urgent assistance between March and May.

Food and Agriculture Programme Manager, ActionAid Nigeria, Azubuike Nwokoye, said that conscious efforts should be made to provide strategic resilience-focused interventions and humanitarian assistance in areas where necessary.

…empirical evidence has shown that the greater the resources committed to a sector, the greater output in terms of social benefit to the society.

Nwokoye urged the government to mop up excess agricultural produce across the country for storage and prevent post-harvest losses.

He observed that post-harvest losses reached N3.5 trillion annually, which he said was caused by banditry, farmers-herders clashes and flooding across Nigeria.

“The analysis focusing on the 2023 budget is aimed at x-raying how the Nigerian agricultural sector is funded and positioned for growth and employment creation, among others.

“Over seven years, the budget for the sector has not exceeded two per cent of the total budget.

“However, empirical evidence has shown that the greater the resources committed to a sector, the greater output in terms of social benefit to the society.

“Giving that the agricultural sector is adjudged as the sector with the potential to transform the economy and employ the teeming youths, adequate funding must be prioritised for it in the national budget,” he said.

The Secretary of SWOFON, FCT, Mrs Nnenna Chukwu, urged the federal and state governments to, as a matter of urgency, complete on-going construction of dams, construct new ones and water catchments across the country for agricultural use.

She advised that the existing dams should be made to function at full capacity for all-year-round farming to ensure food security.

Also, the Director, Resources Mobilisation and Innovation, Andrew Mamedu, described budgetary allocation to agriculture as low, considering the need for food supply by Nigeria’s teeming population. (NAN)

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