From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Sequel to food insufficiency in the country, Actionaid Nigeria, has advised the three tiers of government to commit 10 per cent of their annual budget to agriculture, focus on strategic areas of extension services, and to provide credit for women.
The organisation also advised government to provide labour-saving technologies, inputs, post-harvest losses reduction supports like training, market access, processing and storage facilities.
Its Country Director, Ene Obi, gave the counseling at the National Dialogue and Dissemination on Nigeria’s Performance at the 3rd Biennial Review Exercise on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP), in Abuja.
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 6 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.”
Obi pointed out that Actionaid conducted a research and the data through the VABKIT reflected the realities of smallholder women farmers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which “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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhine, said the ministry has begun the process of strengthening evidence based data for effective policy formulation and tracking of performance.