By Abigael Joshua
Stakeholders in agriculture on Thursday appealed to African governments to step up efforts on security for farmers in order to enable agriculture to thrive in the continent.
The stakeholders made the appeal at the closing ceremony of a four-day inaugural conference on Accelerating Agricultural Adaptation in Africa held from Oct. 16 to Oct. 19 in Abuja.
Prof. Emmy Idegu, Executive Director Communicating Development Initiative, University of Calabar, said the meeting was a platform for stakeholders from African countries to deliberate on how to improve on agricultural growth and food security in Africa.
“One fundamental issue that has been raised is the issue of security; no matter the issues we discuss here, if farmers do not have access to their farms, how do they implement the issues that are being discussed.
“Another crucial issue we discussed in the conference is policy somersault; that is for governments of countries to come up with laudable policies that will improve agriculture.
“We also discussed on how policy formulation by government can be carried out in communities and how they can also be involved in those policy formulation down to the grassroots; on a general note ,how agriculture can be given its due place.’’
He expressed optimism that the stakeholders would implement the issues raised in the conference.
Idegu decried the situation where farmers took loans and were placed under strict policies when paying back.
“Somehow at the process of harvesting these produce there is another policy that makes them unable to sell their produce and make gains.
“So, it becomes counterproductive; it is like taking two steps forward 20 steps backwards.
“I am happy that the organisers of this conference are synergising with government agencies to come to the aid of agriculture in Africa.
“Africa has the greatest untapped resources and unused lands we don’t have any reason to lack food.’’
He appealed that all programmes to drive the agricultural sector forward be sustained.
“My appeal to government is that there should be some level of consistency in programmes; it doesn’t matter the parties that takes over government programmes that are initiated that can improve agriculture should be sustained.
“Food has no respect for parties that you belong to; hunger has no consideration for your geographical location,’’ he said.
On his part, Augustine Njamnshi, Chairman of Political and Technical Committee, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Board, said that the conference had started a process which was very important for Africa.
“Insecurity has been caused by climate change, farmers and grazers are having conflict; meanwhile, these are communities that have been living together since time in memorial and why is it now that they are having conflict.
“Climate change has exacerbated the situation for instance; scarce water resources has made man and beasts fight for the same water pastoral lands are decreasing because of drought and other issues such as floods.
“Climate change debate has been taking place for the last 28 years or more many communities, countries practice agriculture at different scales and most of the time it is based on rainfall,” Njamnshi said.
He added that climate change was affecting rainfall as one of the effects of climate change was unpredictable rainfall which had affected the agricultural calendar in all parts of the world.
“So, we decided that since Nigeria is a powerful country in Africa, it should take the voice of African needs to the international level,” he said.
No fewer than 50 countries were represented at the conference.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo