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Stakeholders want the National Agriculture And rural development Fund Establishment Bill for 2019 to pass

Stakeholders want the National Agriculture And rural development

Given the sector’s strategic importance, stakeholders in the agricultural sector have urged the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to enact the National Agricultural Development Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2019.

Non-State Actors (NSAs) Post-National Dialogue and Dissemination on Nigeria’s Performance Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Saturday in Abuja made the call.

ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) and ActionAid International together organized the 3rd Biennial Review Exercise (AAI).

They suggested that a buffer fund be established from sources such as Consolidated Oil Revenue, Oil Revenue Surplus, Natural Resource Funds, and Climate Resource Funds, claiming that the sector requires its own budget cycle in order for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to fulfill its mandate.

The stakeholders recommended that the 3rd National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP III) be developed to guide the implementation of the approved National Agricultural Transformation and Innovation Plan-NATIP while aligning targets and indicators to the Biennial Review indicators to ensure Nigeria meets the Malabo Commitments, according to a communiqué.

It also urged the Ministry to collaborate with the media and other stakeholders to raise public awareness of the new agricultural policy as part of a larger effort to promote citizen participation in the budget process.

“We urge Federal and State Executives, as well as the National and State Houses of Assembly, to increase public investment in agriculture and ensure timely consideration, passage, and total budget releases as a strategic approach to increase food production, reduce hunger, and achieve the Maputo/Malabo Commitments.”

“The three tiers of government should commit 10% of their annual budget to the agriculture sector, as approved by the 44th National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD), to meet the minimum 10% Maputo/Malabo Declaration required to support a minimum 6% growth rate for the sector as postulated in the CAADP framework.”

“Public investment in agriculture should be increased in specific areas such as Extension Services, Access to Credit, Women in Agriculture, Youth in Agriculture, Appropriate Labor-Saving Technologies, Irrigation, Inputs, Post-Harvest Losses Reduction Supports (processing facilities, storage facilities, training, market access, and so on), Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA)/Agroecology, Research and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Coordination.”

“The annual Federal and State agriculture budgets should be more gender-responsive by including line items for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture that address specific challenges that women farmers face differently than men, and by avoiding lumping budgets for women farmers and other groups such as youths.”

“Given the agricultural risks of floods, droughts, fires, pests, and diseases, cattle destruction of farms, rising insecurity in farms, and 4 kidnappings,” the meeting recommended that both the federal and state governments promote agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers while addressing security issues that threaten farmers’ lives and farms.

However, the meeting noted that, according to the 3rd BR report, Nigeria is on track to achieve its goal of halving poverty via agriculture by 2025, despite the fact that the reality on the ground shows otherwise.

“The reality is that we need to improve on the shaky claimed progress toward Halving poverty through agriculture by 2025.” Food prices, poverty rates, nutrition status, access to agricultural finance, and agricultural value addition will all improve as a result of the real outcomes and impacts.

“On the subject of Extension Services, smallholder women farmers have only 5.26 percent access to farm demonstrations and 19.47 percent access to farmer field schools. They have access to fewer than a quarter of existing agricultural financing facilities.

“Smallholder women farmers have only 4.77 percent access to Agricultural Insurance.” In terms of land access and control, around 59 percent have it, 29.77 percent have it under their control, and only 11.23 percent are involved in land governance talks. While the government is working to expand the space for more Public-Private Partnerships in Nigeria’s agriculture sector, smallholder women farmers’ access to such programs remains below 27% across the country, according to the meeting.