Food security: CSOs demand paradigm shift to irrigation

By Bushrah Yusuf-Badmus

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Kwara have called for a paradigm shift from rain-fed farming to irrigation for effective food supply.

The CSOs made the demand through a communique issued at the end of their consultative meeting on the 2023 Kwara State Agriculture budget on Thursday in Ilorin.They said agriculture and climate change are interwoven, therefore efforts should be made to shift reliance on rain-fed agriculture to irrigation.

The CSOs said we should be working towards organic agriculture and not synthetic because of the rain pattern.They said there was the need to increase budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector from 3.59 per cent to 10 per cent in line with Maputo and Malabo declarations.”We also appreciate the government spending in the agriculture sectors from 3.09% in 2021 to 3.5% in 2022.

We urge the government not to relent in this direction.”The meeting also appreciated the government for the increase in agriculture budgetary allocation, but craves for more in subsequent years.”Focus should be on performance of  Agriculture budget allocation rather than figure allocation,” the communique read in part.It added that the group urge the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development to involve CSOs and Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) in the preliminary level of budget preparation in continuation of the practice started in 2020.”The farm inputs and other empowerment programmes for farmers should be target to the real farmers as against political farmers and there should be timely distribution of inputs to farmers for maximum outputs.”It is encouraged that all benefits for the women farmers should be channeled through SWOFON because of their organised structure.”We also want the government to make provision for the organic fertilizers and others climate friendly

inputs.”Government should consider agricultural insurance for small holders farmers at the farm gate and there should be access to tractors by women farmers.”Clearing of farm lands for women farmers at discounted rate, and the Government should assist in creating accessible roads from farm to the market in order to reduce lost and cost.”We also want an establishment of storage facilities in order to reduce post harvest losses and mechanisation should be encouraged among women farmers.”Lastly, we want the Government to promote establishment of local Silos to encourage storage and reduce wastage,” it stated.The communique however advised farmers to explore social investment programmes from the federal government for credit facilities.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CSOs are Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), SWOFON,Fulfilling Dreams Foundation (FDF), FEMCOMM and Meadows Community and Development Outreach (MCDO).Others are Worthy Life Education and Health Foundation (WLEHF), Community Agricultural Initiative Programme (CAIP) and Connected Development (CODE). (NAN)