ActionAid Nigeria, ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector have called on governments to ensure proper sanitary measures are taken to protect local and exportable produce to improve food safety.
The stakeholders said this in a communiqué signed by Azubike Nwokoye, the coordinator, Food and Agriculture Programme, ActionAid Nigeria in Abuja at the end of a two-day Consultative Meeting on 2019 Agriculture Budget on Wednesday.
Poor food safety and phyto-sanitary measures have been identified with some Nigerian agricultural commodities including yams and beans, which is why the communiqué has asked the federal government to channel more of its agricultural investments to the production of locally fabricated farm machines.
It noted that locally fabricated farm implement would match the soil requirement of Nigerian agro-ecological zones and be easily accessible to smallholder farmers.
“Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures and general food safety issues have been identified with some Nigerian agricultural export commodities such as yam and beans. It is important that food safety issues for both domestic consumption and export markets are improved upon. The 2019 and subsequent years agriculture budget should be gender sensitive. The sector should invest more in locally fabricated simple farming machines according to the soil requirements of Nigerian agro-ecological zones which the smallholder farmers can easily access and manage”.
The stakeholders, while commending the government for the continuous increase of agriculture budgets since 2016, said there was need to increase the percentage of agriculture budget to hit 10 percent provided by the Maputo/ Malabo declarations by 2019.
According to the communique, farmers especially smallholder women farmers who produce over 60 per cent of food consumed in Nigeria are not currently involved in the agriculture budgeting processes, noting that the lack of formal strategy to involve women farmers was responsible for untapped potential of women farmers’ contribution to agricultural productivity in the country.
The stakeholders including Oxfam, Nigeria, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environment and Water Resources, Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) jointly called for adequate monitoring of the implementation of agriculture projects to help the sector.