FMARD, FAO, Others Move to Address Nigeria’s Agriculture Disruption

By Hillary Asemota

Following the devastating floods in 2022, high prices of commodities, agriculture inputs and several other drawbacks in the agriculture sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), FAO, CILSS, WFP, IPC, FEWSNET, ECOWAS and Save the Children International on Thursday expressed resolve to return Nigeria to the path of food security and nutrition sustainability through the 2023 Cadre Harmonise (CH) cycle tools.

Speaking at the March 2023 CH cycle conference in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, however acknowledged the negative impact of the post COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian -Ukraine war and the daunting insecurity issue which has continued to threaten Nigeria’s food and nutrition security. 

The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Dr. Ernest Umakhike, also had the Director, Planning and Policy Coordinator Ibrahim Tanimu, standing for him said these challenges have led to disruptions in food production and distribution systems, resulting in poor consumption patterns among several households across the country.

The Minister said: “As we gather once again to discuss the findings from this March, 2023 cycle, which is the 16th in the series for Nigeria, the FMARD assures all partners of governments’ commitment to upholding the outcome and recommendations arising from it with a view to enhancing the food and nutrition security situation in the concerned states through objective intervention programme.

“I call on all participants to contribute positively and objectively to the issues emanating from the results in order to enhance its quality, usefulness and acceptability by the spectrum of stakeholders.

The Minister expressed appreciation to both the local and international partners whose financial and technical contributions have remained instrumental to sustaining the CH analysis in Nigeria. 

Also speaking at the event, FAO Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS, Mr. Fred Kafeero, while underscoring the current round of CH analysis, said it precedes a period of multiple shocks which affected livelihoods of many households across the country last year.

He noted that climate change with resultant flooding, banditry high prices of food commodities and agricultural inputs as well as economies factors such as inflation and declined purchasing power have also impacted on livelihood.

He said: “We witnessed an unprecedented level oof farmland destruction by floods affecting nearly 500, 000 HA of formerly productive land.

“This brough negative consequences for food production, early depletion of household food stock, leading to predictable food scarcity this year.

“We worry that this will be more pronounced during the lean season further increasing vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition.”

According to him, the CH tool for food security analysis has continued to produce a widely accepted results for food security and livelihood response and for prioritization of development programmes.

FAO, he added, has continued to support the federal government in leading the implementation of CH processes nationally, both in terms of funding as well technical support.

“We appreciate the financial and in-kind contributions from both federal government state governments toward the current analysis …we have no doubt that the government will take over the fund and the entire budget CH budget process.

“FAO thanked our partners in terms of capacity building, data generation through regular food security and nutrition assessments and provisions of technical analytical support to the CH analysis…

“There is therefore no doubt that we need to recommit and use all available means and resources if we are to mitigate further deterioration of the food security situation in the country.

The FAO boss, thanked the Cadre Harmonise stakeholders for successfully completing the March 2023 cycle after the two weeks of intensive analysis in the 26 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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