By Nathan Nwakamma
Some farmers in Sabagreia Community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa on Wednesday called on government and other support agencies to assist in making more land available for farming, to boost food production.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the farmers, who identified access to land as a major obstacle, made the call at a one-day food systems dialogue held in the community.
The discourse was facilitated by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), Niger Delta Development Commision (NDDC) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) programme, aimed at achieving food security.
It was organised by the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, a non governmental organisation implementing the FGN,NDDC,IFAD project.
Participants included serving Councillor representing Ward 9 in the area, Mr Wueba Ayakumo; Deputy Chief of the mmunity, Chief Amaebi Ayawari; Youth Leader, Mr Ugo Funebi; among other leaders from the area.
community also called on households in rural communities, including public servants and private sector wage earners, to engage in farming and other areas in which they had comparative advantage.
Dr Panebi Ugo, Bayelsa Cordinator of LIFE-ND, said the goal of rural food systems dialogue was to engage grassroots stakeholders taking an aggressive approach to solve global hunger.
According to him, the discourse was also to address the disrupted value chain globally as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and Climate Change, as well as other unexpected challenges that could also cause disruption.
“The food systems dialogue is required to improve nutrition security, reduce hunger and prevalence of malnutrition, in line with the national food and nutrition policy for Nigeria.
“It will also create more inclusive, healthier food systems, encourage collaborative approach towards building sustainable food systems and enhance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Ugo said.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the farmers called for the strengthening of public agriculture extension services to provide technical advice and promote good agricultural practices in the communities.
It said that the agric extension services would make for availability of food and introduction of new crops that suit the soil type of the community and livestock.
“Effective information sharing and dissemination on existing markets for farm inputs as well as related agricultural products and services will ensure all-year farm production and reduce hunger and improve affordability of nutritious food.
“To ensure the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, all farmers should engage in mixed crop farming and diversity of livestock rearing.
“To ensure increased affordability and availability of nutritious and safe foods, farmers and other stakeholders should avoid sharp practices, use of harmful chemicals and adopt good agricultural practices.
“Government to facilitate the establishment of public-private managed food banks, storage facilities to store harvested surplus agricultural produce harvested in the community; this will reduce food inflation in the rural areas as currently experienced in the community.
“In view of the frequent flooding experienced by the community, climate smart agriculture technologies promotion, shorelines protection as well as dredging of the rivers would assist in mitigating the effects of climate change on food production,” the communique also read in part. (NAN)