Stakeholders have urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), CBN and others to mandate agrochemical dealers to remove all Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) from their anchor-borrower’s programmes.
The stakeholders, however, urged the government to encourage the dealers to supply more organic inputs such as bio-pesticides, organic fertilisers among others describing HHPs as posing grave public health challenges to the public.
They made the call in a communique issued at the end of a 2-day National Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on the 2023 Agriculture Budget held via webinar.
The stakeholders are; ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Oxfam, ONE Campaign and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of the ECOWAS Commission.
According to the communiqué, FMARD and State Ministries of Agriculture should increase budget allocation for organic inputs, bio-pesticides and agroecology to ensure the successful implementation of agroecological projects.
“FMARD, CBN and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending should engage and educate all farmers’ groups, listed vendors, manufacturers and importers of agrochemicals about the negative impact of HHPs on Nigeria’s public health, environment and foreign revenue.
“FMARD, CBN, Bank of Industry (BOI) and others should mandate agrochemical dealers in their anchor-borrower programmes to remove all HHPs from their programmes and encourage them to supply more organic inputs like biopesticides and organic fertiliser,’’ it stated.
The meeting was aimed at facilitating conversations among key stakeholders connecting the continental framework, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) targets and Government intentions within the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) in Nigeria.
It was also geared towards strengthening citizens’ participation towards making the 2023 agriculture budget responsive for food security and wealth creation.
It provided stakeholders opportunity, especially smallholder women farmers to participate in agriculture policy and budget making processes resulting to changes in priority budget line items that are pro-poor and in the approach of government’s implementation of programmes and projects.
ActionAid Nigeria and other stakeholders observed that the Nigerian food sector was confronted with new emerging challenges such as the ongoing Ukraine – Russia war, affecting input prices and availability of staples such as wheat.
”The challenges of increased armed banditry, farmer-herder clashes, climate change, flood, hazardous pesticides and gender inequality persist without deliberate rethink of our practices and approaches towards our food and nutrition security,” it said.