The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) and 40 Budget Committee Group (BCG) members across seven states and the FCT, has urged the Federal Government to secure lives of farmers, with insurance policies, especially smallholder farmers, to boost food production and guarantee food security.
They made the call in Abuja in a communique at the end of their two-day Public Financing for Agriculture Budget Committee Advocacy (PFA-BCA) summit, organised by AAN in collaboration with the BCG of Bauchi, Gombe, Ondo, Delta, Kwara, Ebonyi, Kogi states and the FCT.
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The communique was also endorsed by 28 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as part of measures to save the nation from food crisis and hunger.
The FCT BCG leader, Bertha Ogbimi, the Founder, Environmental and Rural Mediation Centre (ENVIRUMEDIC), Chief Monday Itoghor and others who jointly read the communique noted that there is a marginal increase in agricultural budget allocations in some states between 2012-2021.
They, however, said these allocations still fell below the Maputo/Malabo Declaration benchmark of 10 percent and that without solving food-farm security issues, the national and states security issues cannot be solved.
“Considering the agricultural risk; rising insecurity in farms; farm raiding, cattle destructions, and kidnappers, climate and other natural disasters, farmers are not encouraged to continue farm practices without risk covers.
“Hence, both federal and state governments should promote the enrolment of agricultural insurance policies for smallholder farmers, while challenging the poor security issues that threatens our farms,” they said.
The forum also urged federal and state government and legislature to scale up public investment in agriculture, ensure timely consideration, passage and total budget releases as a strategic approach to increase food production, reduce hunger and poverty and achieve the Maputo/Malabo Commitment.
They said, “There is a need to have a state investment plan for the agricultural sector. The national investment plan should be a compilation of the state developed agricultural investment plans that contains state crops with comparative advantages. Such plan will highlight the commitment of the states, PPP windows and their alignment to the national economic policy and development plans.”