By Omolabake Fasogbon
Nigeria’s effort in tackling hunger and poverty have been rated far below average because the country has not effectively implemented the various Agricultural policies and conventions it entered into.
A 2017 report from Malabo Biennial review cited Rwanda and Mali among others as leading in the fight against hunger in the African continent having scored 6.1and 5.6 respectively out of the required minimum threshold of 3.9 per cent of the maximum 10 per cent benchmark commitment to the implementation of the Malabo Declaration on Agriculture while Nigeria maintained a score of 3.4 per cent.
The Malabo Declaration as adopted by African Union Heads of state targets majorly an accelerated agriculture growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihood while setting seven goals towards the realisation of the mission
Regrettably, Nigeria has only been able to fulfil two of the seven goals which include commitment to CAADP principles as well as boosted intra-regional agricultural trade, which was why 20 per cents members of her population still suffer from hunger.
Addressing participants during a capacity building workshop on agricultural policy instruments organised by National Association of Nigerian Traders, NANT, President of the association, Ken Ukoha maintained that the agricultural sector provided a strong platform for job creation, economic diversification and poverty reduction, yet, various policies guiding the sector have not been given required attention.
Ukoha who identified some of the policies as the Agriculture Promotion Policy, Comprehensive African Agriculture Programme, ECOWAS Agriculture Policy and the National Agriculture Investment Plan noted that they were all tailored towards the realisation of the commitment of African Union Malabo Declaration on Agriculture.
More importantly, he noted that the policies which specifically seek to realise food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction in Africa suffered in this part of the world basically because most stakeholders including the media were not aware of the existence, contents, processes, implementation strategies and approaches, policy implications, challenges and the overall future and or benefits of these instruments.
“Perhaps, only a few people are aware of the commitments made by their governments in the agriculture policy instruments, and therefore little wonder nobody appears to be putting governments in check or holding them accountable. The result of these is continuous underdevelopment and aggravation of poverty.”
As a way forward, one of the speakers, an Economist with the ECOWAS, Dr. Manson Nwafor sought for effective implementation of policies, review and dialogue process in the Agric sector.
He urged Federal Government to consider allocation of 10 per cent budget to the Agricultural sector as agreed upon in the Malabo declaration.