Stakeholders Boost Campaign To End Hunger,Poverty Through Agriculture
To achieve the dream of ending hunger in the continent of Africa by 2025, stakeholders in the Agriculture sector have kicked-started a national dialogue towards enhancing investment financing in Nigeria, as well as combating poverty through agriculture.
For two days, sector players converged in Abuja for the National Dialogue and Dissemination on Nigeria’s Performance at the Third Biennial Review (BR) Exercise, aimed at aggregating necessary information on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) framework.
The event, which attracted state and non-state actors to deliberate on the 2021 CAADP report and the way forward, was organized by Actionaid-Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
The third CAADP BR, launched last March by the African Union Commission showed that Rwanda was the only African country that was on track in the seven CAADP/Malabo commitment areas —recommitment to the principles and values of the CAADP process; ending hunger by 2025; enhancing investment financing in Nigeria; halving poverty through Agriculture by 2025; boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services; enhancing resilience to climate variability, and enhancing mutual accountability for actions and results.
Available data showed that Nigeria was only able to keep on track in two out of the seven commitments — halving poverty through Agriculture by 2025 and boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services in the region, where the country scored 5.96 and 6.52 points out of 5.81 and 5.00 minimum scores for BR cycle respectively.
In the overall report, Nigeria scored a total of 5.42 over 10 points, which places it below the track in implementing the Malabo Declaration on Agriculture transformation in Africa.
The Assistant Director, CAADP focal point, FMARD, Ibrahim Mohammed, who analyzed Nigeria’s performance in his presentation titled: “Nigeria’s Performance in the Third BR Process: Successes, Challenges and Possible Solution,” identified some of the inhibiting challenges of the country to include an inadequate budgetary provision to the sector to meet the AU/CAADP Malabo minimum of 10 per cent of member countries’ total budget.
He also identified the inability of the country to conduct agriculture census and other related surveys; inadequate budgetary allocations and releases for statistical activities; inadequate ICT infrastructure and software for analysis; weak synergy between departments and agencies for data generation and storage; and non-availability of time series data to effectively track progress, among others.
Mohammed noted that increased political will by the Federal Government to address the identified issues above would help improve the country’s performance in the next BR report.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs. Ene Obi, said the interaction was to support Nigeria and by extension, the continent to be on track, in actualizing the 2014 Malabo Declaration Commitments, stressing the need for proper data collection to measure the performance in relation to national development.
Obi regretted the general decay in infrastructural facilities in the country, especially roads, which impedes agricultural produce mobility, leading to losses and heavy costs of movement.
She made a case for increased access of Small-scale women farmers to government incentives, grants, inputs, equipment and other services as a way of enhancing agricultural performance in the country.
Obi explained: “The data/information we collected through the Value Addition Biennial Review Toolkit (VABKIT) that reflected the lived realities of smallholder women farmers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory 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 training. 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 budgets to the agriculture sector required to support at least six 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 labor-saving technologies, inputs, post-harvest losses reduction supports (processing facilities, storage facilities, training, market access, etc.), climate-resilient sustainable agriculture (CRSA)/agro ecology; research and development; monitoring and evaluation, as well as coordination.”
Other speakers at the event include — a representative of Actionaid-International, Constance Okeke; ECOWAS Commission representative, Dr. Manson Nwafor; and Actionaid Food and Agricultural Programme Coordinator, Azubike Nwokoye.