Small Scale Women Farmers Association of Nigeria (SWOFON) says increased spate of insecurity is impeding the attainment of food security in the country. The association is therefore calling on the authorities to beef up farmland security.
SWOFON National President, Mary Ishaya, was speaking at the review of the national agriculture budget organised by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), in Abuja.
According to her, the attainment of countrywide food security would be unattainable if the security situation is not addressed, noting that the attacks were not just on female farmers alone, she added that the situation has forced a lot of them out of their farms.
She also said the situation was responsible for the increase in the cost of food items. Ishaya said food supply reduced because of the unavailability of crops, as the farmers abandoned their farmlands.
She said, “The challenge of insecurity does not affect our women farmers alone, but all farmers.
“Around October and November last year, we saw how some of our rice farmers were massacred in their farms when they went to harvest their rice. Because of that, a lot of people abandoned their farms.
“We are talking to the government on the need to tag food security with security because without security, we cannot produce. The cost of food is high because most of the farms were not cultivated or harvested or were destroyed or eaten up by cows.”
Meanwhile, the president also called for increased budgetary allocation for agriculture.
According to her, another purpose of the review was to check for possibilities of legislation and budgetary allocation, as it affects smallholders.
The government is however, calling on the citizenry to invest massively in agriculture and industrial development for rapid economic growth and job creation.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, made this call during a tour of the 60,000 hectares Dangote Nassarawa Sugar Project, Tunga in Awe Local Government, Nasarawa State
A convergence of agricultural and industrial development, Nanono explained, will help Nigeria achieve full economic potential
He notes that by the time the Dangote Tunga Sugar Project started full operations, the country’s deficit in sugar consumption requirement will be reduced by at least thirty percent.
The factory, Nanono adds will be producing 430,000 metric tons of white refined sugar per annum.
According to the minister, investments in diversified areas will help to provide hundreds of thousands of job opportunities for Nigerians as well as conserving the much needed foreign exchange for the country.
On his part, Project Engineer, J.M. Beverly, states that as part of the company’s social responsibility, they have spent at least N100 million in providing the Tunga community with schools, hospital, water supply, roads and solar lighting among other benefits
According to him, the development will also provide countless job opportunities for the local populace.