The ActionAid Nigeria has called for the immediate creation of a separate Agricultural Emergency Fund outside the 2023 budget for agriculture.
Mr Azubike Nwokoye, the Food and Agriculture Programme Manager of the organisation, made the call in an interview in Abuja on Monday, December 26, 2022.
Nwokoye said that the fund had become necessary in order to avert the looming food crisis in the country.
He said that the country was currently faced with daunting food and nutrition insecurity.
He blamed the situation on the low public investments in agriculture, late budget releases, insurgency, armed banditry, farmer-herder clashes and floods across the country.
According to Nwokoye, flood has ravaged farmlands and livelihoods and with the high post-harvest losses of N3.5 trillion annually, the situation becomes more damning.
“The Nigeria Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index 2022 released in November reiterates the need for us to rethink our approaches to achieving food and nutrition security in Nigeria.
“The report shows that of Nigeria’s 200 million population, 38.6 per cent, which is 77.2 million citizens, are faced with food insecurity.
“28.7 per cent, which is 57.4 million citizens, are faced with nutrition insecurity.
“Also, 50.6 per cent, which is 101.2 million citizens, lack the access to cooking fuel, which contributes largely to climate change and health issues.
“The national measure of multi-dimensional poverty was conducted between November 2021 and February 2022,” he said.
Nwokoye further said that things had become worse than the statistics at the moment, considering the recent floods,” he said.
He said that of the 133 million Nigerians living in poverty, 106 million reside in rural areas, being the major area of agricultural activities.
He, therefore, called for a rethink regarding public investments in agriculture.
“There is need to rethink and ensure that we appropriately target smallholder women farmers,” Nwokoye said.
By Felicia lmohimi