The ActionAid Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission and stakeholder in the agriculture sector, have called on various governments to ensure proper sanitary measures on local and exportable produce to improve food safety.
The stakeholders said this in a communiqué at the end of a two-day Consultative Meeting on 2019 Agriculture Budget on Wednesday and signed by Mr Azubike Nwokoye, Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Programme, ActionAid Nigeria in Abuja.
It said that poor food safety and phyto-sanitary measures had been identified with some Nigerian agricultural commodities including yams and beans.
The stated that there was the need for the Federal Government to channel more of its agricultural investments to the production of locally fabricated simple 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 per cent 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.
It said that there was no formal strategy to involve women farmers and this had resulted in untapped potential of women farmers and the attendant low agricultural productivity in the country.
The stakeholders in the communique called for adequate monitoring of the implementation of agriculture projects by relevant stakeholders.
It said that stakeholders from 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), attended the meeting.
Others are representatives from the Association of Small-Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN); the media, academia, Research & Finance Institutes as well as other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).