12.8m People In 16 Northern States Face Food Insecurity — SWOFON

A National Advocacy forum under the umbrella of Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) has revealed that about 12.8 million people in 16 Northern State are currently faced with food and nutrition challenges due climate change, insecurity, farmers and herders clashes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 16 northern states it listed to be disturbed by malnutrition were, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

This was however contained in a communique signed by the SWOFON National President, Mary Afan, at a two-day programme, organized by ActionAid Nigeria, AAN in Abuja, yesterday.

The communique reads in part: “According to the Cadre Harmonise report of March 2021, about 12.8 million people in 16 northern states are currently faced with food and nutrition insecurity due to climate change, insecurity, farmers and herders clashes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Apart from these 16 northern states, other states are also faced with food and nutrition insecurity due to similar factors, while food and nutrition is further exacerbated across Nigeria through post-harvest losses of about N3.5 trillion annually.”

The communique further commended federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for the development of the National gender policy in agriculture for constituting and inclusion of SWOFON in the National gender steering committee for the implimentation of the gender policy in the Agriculture sectors.

It said: “We commend the 44″ National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) for approving the domestication and implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory.”

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According to the communique the three tiers of government should commit ten percent of their annual budget to the agriculture sector to meet the ten percent Maputo/Malabo Declaration required to support at least six percent growth rate for the sector as postulated in the CAADP framework.

The communique also urged the state governments to allocate more public investments in agriculture to address the strategic areas of investments that would increase agricultural GDP to six percent.

“Humanitarian and food voucher interventions should be carried out across Nigeria while massive investments should focus on tackling post-harvest losses, climate change. insecurity, and farmers & herders clashes to bring us out of this situation.

“State Ministries of Agriculture should constitute their State gender steering committee for the implementation of the Gender Policy in the Agricultural sector, in a bid to offer equal access and gender-sensitve approaches towards food production.

“States should also create budget lines to fund the implementation of the National Gender Policy in agriculture, create specific annual budget lines for smallholders women farmers and ensure included in agriculture budget and policy making policy at all levels,” the communique stated.

Addressing the implementation of the National gender policy in agriculture, for capacity building, the communique said that SWOFON should be included into annual trainings of FMARD, State Ministries of Agriculture, Financial Instrtutions and Development Partners as captured in the policy.

It read: “Female extension agents should be recruited by the state ministries of agriculture to fill the large gender gap in extension services and the farmers and extension agent’s ratio. Gender units at federal and in states in collaboration with relevant agencies should train smallholder women farmers on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

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“Federal and state governments should specially design capacity development programmes to improve the capacity of Smallholder Women Farmers on mitigation and adaptation Strategies against Climate Change and provide access to organic fertilizers and organic control of pest.”

To this end, the communique urged FMARD to establish new mechanism and indicators for data collection which should be gender sensitive, specifically reflecting the concerns of smallholder women farmers and federal and state governments should ensure analysis of all agricultural policies.

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