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Thursday, February 21, 2019

WANEP urges politicians to promote agriculture - ITREALMS

Ahead of the 2019 General elections in Nigeria, the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) has urged relevant stakeholders in the  socio-economic and political sphere of the country to mainstream agricultural sector as a means of addressing the emerging security challenges and agitations for sustainable development.

This was contained in a report made available on Wednesday by the Programme Manager, Conflict Prevention/Early Warning, WANEP, Ms. Osariemen Amas-Edobor, as the outcome of the sensitisation workshop on Farmers Manifesto conducted between 29-31, January 2019, in Bauchi State with the support of OXFAM.

A total of 312 participants: 117 female and 173 male (including 17 Political Party Aspirants) were represented at both the sensitization workshop on the Farmers Manifesto to Small Scale Farmers (SSFs) and Engagement with Political Parties in Bauchi State.

Edobor noted that it has been recognized that enhanced agricultural performance in the country is key to growth and poverty reduction through its direct impact on increasing job opportunities, especially for women and youth; food security and improved nutrition.

According to her, SSFs in Nigeria make up the greater number of the country’s workforce population and produce over 80 percent of the food consumed in the country. 

She stated: "The Nigerian agricultural sector is second largest contributor (about 24%) to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nonetheless, these farmers appear to be the poorest constituency in Nigeria. As shown by statistics, smallholder farmers constitute over 75% of the electorates, thus making the constituency the largest voting population in Nigeria, so therefore it becomes imperative for the specific needs of smallholder farmers to be of priority to Policy makers. 

"It is in recognition of the challenges faced by SSFs in Nigeria that Small Holder Farmers Groups (SHFGs) now rises to organize and link up with relevant national platforms with a view to enhancing their voice and increasing their capacity to influence policies in and out of the agricultural sector resulting to the development of a MANIFESTO."

Edobor explained that Farmers’ MANIFESTO is a documentation of the specific needs of Nigerian farmers as a basis for a bargain between farmers and political office seekers, prior and after elections.

 In view of this, she said, WANEP-Nigeria with support from OXFAM conducted several activities in Bauchi State including; Advocacy/Courtesy visits to Traditional Rulers, Federal/State Ministry of Agriculture and the Private Sector; Sensitization workshop with SSF and Political Party aspirants in the State. 

With the aim to finding lasting solution to the challenges affecting the smooth operation of the local farmers, she said the Non-Governmental Organisation has expressed its readiness to boost production capacity of Small Scale Farmers in Bauchi State for food security in the country.

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