Small Scale Farmers (SSFs) in Nigeria make up the greater number of the country’s workforce population and produce over 80% of the food consumed in the country. The Nigerian agricultural sector is second largest contributor (about 24%) to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nonetheless, these farmers appear to be the poorest constituency in Nigeria.
Small Scale Farmers have not been adequately supported over the years by successive administration in Nigeria. Their voices are scarcely heard, neither are they adequately represented in policy-making process and in governance. This constituency has also been excluded and disempowered, while their concerns and interests are not taken into account or addressed.
Ironically, this is the same constituency that the politicians run to with different kind of promises campaigning for votes during elections even as the 2019 election approaches. Given the above history of neglect, and against the backdrop of renewed global focus on agriculture and small scale farmers (SSF), the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) with the support of TrustAfrica organized a workshop for farmers organizations and networks in Nigeria with a view to awaken the SSFs to enhance their voice worth and capacity to influence policies in and out of the agricultural sector. The workshop also seeks to identify the major challenges, concerns, interests and priorities of farmers well-articulated for effective policy advocacy.
- The Specific Objectives of Workshop
The specific objectives of the workshop are to:
- Articulate the needs, challenges and concerns of small holder farmers from across the country, thereby providing them with the right of choice within the context of their livelihoods.
- Facilitate the involvement of farmers in determining the priorities and key thematic areas of investment in the agricultural sector.
- Produce and document the issues and challenges of small scale farmers in Nigeria as a critical instrument for advocacy.
- Propose critical issues for intervention to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other key policy makers as effective policy influence.
- Disseminate vital information to farmers that will help agricultural growth and productivity in Nigeria.
The consultative workshop brought together over forty (40) representatives of farmers organizations and networks from across Nigeria.
- Technical sessions
The workshop benefited from presentations on a study that was conducted by NANTS to identify the various thematic areas of government’s commitments in selected agriculture policies. There was also a verse selection of thematic areas that seek to assist the farmers in determining priority areas, express concerns and identify critical needs (KPPIs) they require resource investments to be directed.
- Conclusion and Recommendations
Pursuant to the objectives of the workshop and following the overall presentations, discussions and constructive debates, participants highlighted and advanced the following issues, observations, conclusions and recommendations:
- Commended the National Council of State for their vision in approving an additional support of 1 billion US Dollars to the agriculture sector in recognition of the role that the sector has played and is still playing in the nation’s economy, and specifically, the fact that Nigeria’s economic advancement and recovery from recession is directly linked majorly to the agricultural sector (among a few sectors).
- Further commended the government for recognizing the importance of agriculture in employment creation, as substantiated by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbe that agriculture has created over 6 million jobs within the current administration, particularly for the youth and women; its capacity to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.
- Noted that growth in GDP for the agriculture sector was 13% in 2015; 4.69% in 3rd quarter of 2016, 5.3% in 2017 and today’s overall sector’s GDP contribution is about 24%, making it one of the largest contributors to the economy, and therefore qualifies as a sector that must be given increased and adequate attention.
Download : Communique – Consultative Farmers Dialogue