This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Food Security - Coalition Advocates Greater Public-Private Collaboration

The public and private sectors have been urged to collaborate more to promote transparency and accountability in the distribution of fertiliser and other agricultural products in the country, to ensure food security.

Governments at all levels have also been enjoined to ensure that adequate infrastructure is in place to increase the marketing, processing and value addition of farm produce and curtail rural/ urban migration in the country.

These calls formed part of a communiqué issued at a one-day capacity building session for civil society organisations and community-based organisations on policy and legislative advocacy for food security held in Gombe.

The session was organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), with support from Oxfam GB. The training drew 28 participants from the State House of Assembly, NGOs, CBOs, FBO, media and Gombe State Agricultural Development Programme.

The communiqué was jointly signed by Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani); Coordinator, Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative (RECHDI), Gombe, Dudu Manuga; State Coordinator, Women Rights Advancement Protection Alternative, Gombe, Anita Dogo, and Programme Coordinator, Gender Awareness and Development Association, Gombe, Abubakar Hassan.

After exhaustive deliberations on the issues, the forum observed that recurrent policy somersault and political interference in the areas of agricultural inputs are major hindrances to achieving food security in the nation, and especially in Gombe State.

To them, there is a lack of political will by the relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and limited engagement by CSOs and CBOs in thoroughly interrogating the issues to bring about the desired change.

The Gombe state government was urged to ensure continuity in policies and free the distribution of agricultural inputs from interference by politicians and used for political patronage the state, while CSOs/CBOs in Gombe State were enjoined to reach out to the Legislators and all relevant government MDAs towards ensuring a holistic approach to food security concerns in the State.

"CSOs and CBOs in Gombe State should engage Policy framework that is backed by law must as a veritable way to pursue programmes that deal with food security", the forum recommended.

The National Seed Council and the Agricultural Transformation Committee were also urged to sensitise the people of their operations as a channel for curtailing dealers of adulterated seeds /seedlings.

"Stakeholders should facilitate adequate facility (funding) support to small scale farmers without collateral to strengthen and scale up further interest in agriculture and boost agricultural production. This could be through the bank or cooperative groups. The government should invest more in the employment of women and youth in the Agricultural sector as this is considered germane to development", the forum added.

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