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Monday, August 1, 2022

3rd BR: ActionAid commends AUC, demands all-inclusive process through legislature – NaijaAgroNet

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The ActionAid Nigeria has commended the African Union Commission (AUC), Regional Economic Commissions (REC) and member states on the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP’s) Third Biennial Review (BR), but demanded for an all-inclusive stakeholder process through legislative backings, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Making this call in Abuja during a day session on the National Parliamentary Briefing on 3rd BR report, Food & Agriculture Programme Coordinator, ActionAid Nigeria, Mr. Azubike Nwokoye, noted that it has been observed that AUC strategy and procedure has not taken all stakeholders into account to ensure effective engagement and participation.

Dwelling on “State of Agriculture Budget Allocation across the 36 states and the FCT and Gaps on Ground” at the session organised by the joint House and Senate Committees on Agriculture in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria, he said, that Non-State Actors (NSAs) including smallholder farmers and precisely women smallholder farmers, being key stakeholders and actors within the CAADP ecosystem, had to strategically define a framework for engaging the BR process.

He also called on smallholder farmers among other Non-State Actors to define relevant actions and develop appropriate methodologies and tools, through which they can generate, collect and collate evidence that tracks progress made by Members States in the implementation of the CAADP Malabo targets.

Nwokoye pointed out, for instance, that Nigeria has been using the available data cum information that reflected the realities of smallholder women farmers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in their various policy influencing spaces where they pushed the gaps as priority areas of where Scaling Up Public Investment in Agriculture is urgently needed in the 2022 agriculture budget both at the national and state levels.

“We used the data at the national and state levels annual stakeholders consultative meetings, Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) State level interactive Forum with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and courtesy and advocacy meetings with State Permanent Secretaries and Commissioners of Ministries of Agriculture, Budget, and Economic Planning,” he disclosed.

As said by him, ActionAid Nigeria within the Scaling Up Public Investment in Agriculture (SUPIA) sustained the momentum of engagements within the project by focusing on high level political and budget commitments which increased the responsiveness and improved attitudes and practices of government officials and institutions both at the national and at state levels with spill over results in non-SUPIA project states through their support to the SmallScale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON).

He urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and State Ministries of Agriculture should create a yearly budget line for support for smallholder women.

"FMARD and State Ministries of Agriculture should create a yearly Strengthening Access to Credit budget line: This funding should focus on criteria, requirements and documentations for credit, which is too cumbersome.

"... So majority of smallholder farmers are not having access to credit in Nigeria," he said.

In addition, Nwokoye called for development of an enabling environment and a policy framework that will facilitate for smallholder farmers especially women, youths and farmers living with disability easy access to credit on single digit interest rate.

On the other hand, he enjoined handhold farmers which includes the women, youths and farmers living with disability come under cooperatives; to access existing CBN agricultural credit facilities through a team or consultancy firm which prepares their business proposals, interfaces and negotiates with Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Bank of Industry (BoI), The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), commercial and microfinance banks.

"The team or consultancy firm will ensure that the cooperatives accesses such facilities and other services like extension, insurance, etc and even market access and they are able to pay back at the end of each circle," he advised.

NaijaAgroNet recalled that CAADP, is the Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all, which was enshrined in Maputo, Mozambique in 2003, at the AU Summit where the first declaration on CAADP was made as an integral part of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

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