COMMUNIQUE OF THE FEED NIGERIA SUMMIT

0
92

HELD AT INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS
FROM 2ND -3RD MAY, 2017.

1.0 PREAMBLE:

Given the need to place Nigeria in the driving seat of continental agricultural developmental efforts, particularly at a time when there is immense economic pressure, stemming from ominous fluctuations in fossil-fuel prices, AgroNigeria, in collaboration with its partners organized the Feed Nigeria Summit, under the theme: “Feed Nigeria: To Feed Africa”.

The Summit kicked-off on Tuesday, May 2nd at the Grande Ballroom of Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island and ended on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017. It was well attended with over 200 delegates cutting across top government executives, private sector stakeholders, as well development and media partners.

As envisioned, the FNS was an intensely private sector oriented event and created a platform for strategic engagements between the government, various development communities with the private sector players for the progress of Nigerian agriculture.

It included six (6) Plenary Sessions, with thirty-four (34) panelists. The plenary sessions adequately tackled major challenges of the Sector across different value chains in a hands-on manner. The crux of the discussions was the need for Nigeria to take centre stage in the quest of Feeding Africa, by being first of all self-sufficient, utilizing the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) of the Federal Government as a launching pad.

Against this backdrop, extensive deliberations and resolutions were made by stakeholders present at the event. At the end of the summit, this communique was issued with the following observations and resolutions:

KEY OBSERVATIONS

  • That the HGSFP is a catalytic program of the Government with capacity to drive agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
  • That it is imperative for Nigeria to adopt sustainable practices aimed at aggressively increasing its agricultural output.
  • That in order to succeed, the HGSFP needs to be directly linked to the agricultural value chain, complete with a bouquet of incentives – innovative infrastructure, long term financing, input and extension delivery.
  • That food and nutrition security has attained a priority dimension as typified by the economic stimulus nature of the HGSFP.
  • That there is need for active participation of sub-national governments in the Agricultural policy formulation and implementation framework in Nigeria.
  • That the role of the legislative arm of government needs to be recognised and enhanced in order to vouchsafe the various laudable policies in Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Government should develop agriculture value chains to create market opportunities for farmers.
  • Government should develop Staple Crop Processing Zones to encourage the establishment of industrial con-centrum in the rural areas.
  • The challenge of financial literacy of farmers should be addressed to enable proper utilisation of available funding opportunities.
  • Sustainable measures for ensuring policy continuation, as exemplified by this administration should be put in place: in this regard, the role of the legislature needs to be constantly advocated.
  • Agricultural productivity should be leapfrogged through promotion of natural and organic farming, using regenerative agricultural practice.
  • In the light of its galvanising role, the strong commitment of all arms and tiers of government is required for the successful implementation of the HGSFP Program.
  • Substantial resources should be invested in scaling up nutrition, for the economic and health benefits of Nigerians.
  • The issue of quality and standardisation should be placed on the front burner and farmers advised to sell quality produce, not just to the programme, but to the entire nation.
  • There is a dire need for the private sector to be handed a driving seat in the implementation of the HGSFP and other nutrition inclined programs with direct impact on Nigerian agriculture.
  • Budgetary allocation to the Sector needs to be drastically reviewed upwardly, while mechanisms must be put in place to appropriately utilise current allocations.
  • In order to entrench sustainability, the nation’s teeming youth population must be actively engaged regarding opportunities in the sector.
  • There is an overbearing need for an agricultural information management system driven by the private sector in partnership with government. The role of the media in this regard is critical and it needs to end its age-long negative portrayal of agriculture.
  • Technology and ICT should be incorporated into extension services for more value delivery.
  • The task to end post-harvest loss and wastage of agricultural produce must radically centre on infusing attitudinal change.
  • There must be an expanded stakeholder involvement in the policy making schematics of the government – private sector, labour, the development partners and representatives of the rural communities themselves.
  • The issue of farm gate to market connectivity has been incessantly over flogged. It is time for the government to take action.
  • Appropriate, tailor – made financing with interest rates must be provided to farmers as a matter of urgency. Accordingly, there is dire need for innovative thinking to meet the unique finance needs of the agricultural sector.
  • States should leverage economies of scale and Federal Government schemes through inter-state collaboration and also foster inclusive relationship with local governments.
  • Nigeria’s land reforms efforts need to be stepped up with a view to making legal land access easy for investors and farmers.
  • Government should ensure full implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
  • In all, Nigeria’s agricultural sector is under a succession threat and as such, the country’s Youth population needs to be incentivised to take to Agriculture – in this regard, a multi-stakeholder effort is required to change the drudgery narrative that has defined Agriculture over the years.

Signed:
Richard-Mark Mbaram
Director General
FNS Secretariat