COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT A ONE DAY CAPACITY BUILDING SESSION FOR CSOs & CBOs ON POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY FOR FOOD SECURITY HELD AT THE SOKOTO GUEST INN, SOKOTO STATE ON THE 27TH NOVEMBER, 2012.
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a one day Capacity Building session for CSOs and CBOs in Sokoto State on Policy and Legislative Advocacy for Food Security, with support from Oxfam GB. The training drew 20 participants from the State House of Assembly, NGOs, CBOs, FBO, media and Sokoto State Agricultural Development Programme, State Food & Nutrition Committee and the people living with disabilities. After exhaustive deliberations on the issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:
1. There is an existing gap between the State House of Assembly and the Civil Society Organization on Agriculture and its related issues in the state was identified.
2. The State Agricultural Development Project and other stakeholders do not have a policy for organizing, identifying and distributing of fertilizer, pesticides, seedling and other agro products to actual farmers in Sokoto State.
3. Inconsistency in policy from all tiers of government has provided weak institutions that are not able to have a grip on a particular implementation regime on agricultural related issues in the state.
4. The involvement of CSOs in the activities of Sokoto State Agricultural Development Program is inadequate.
5. There is a serious marginalization for small scale farmers and women within the state on issues related to accessibility of loans, fertilizers and other key developmental initiatives.
6. Corrupt practices and political interferences are indentified as key tool that threatens the issue of food security in the state.
7. Ineffective policy implementation by government is another identified factor that serves as a clog in the wheel of food security in the state.
8. Less than 40% of arable land in Sokoto State is only utilized for agricultural purposes.
1. The Government of Sokoto State should ensure harmonization in policies and free the distribution of agricultural inputs from interference by politicians.
2. The government should make provision for leasing of mechanized farming tools for farmers, particularly those who are in the medium and small scale.
3. CSOs/CBOs in Sokoto State should reach out to the Legislators and all relevant government MDAs towards ensuring a holistic approach to food security concerns in the State.
4. The Government should key into the global practice in its budget by allocating 10% of its budgetary allocation to agriculture.
5. The CSOs in the State should mobilize women who are not capable enough into corporative groups to allow them easy accessibility to agricultural related initiatives.
6. Government should ensure that adequate infrastructure/facilities is in place to increase the processing, marketing and value addition of farm produce and curtail rural/ urban migration.
7. Stakeholders should facilitate adequate facility/loan (funding) support to small scale farmers without collateral to strengthen and scale up further interest in agriculture and boost agricultural production. This could be through the bank or cooperative groups.
8. The CSOs and CBOs and all relevant stakeholders should embark on the use of nutritional education as a means of ensuring that healthy food cuts across class and status, thereby securing it and eradicating poverty in the rural communities.
9. The Public and Private Sector should synergize to promote transparency and accountability in the distribution of fertilizer and other agro allied products in the state.
10. The government should ensure that standard procedure for fertilizer distribution is in place to actual farmers as well as develop synergy with relevant agencies in ensuring proper accountability in distribution.
11. The Government of Sokoto State should intensify afforestation as a critical tool to mitigating land degradation and strengthen its tree planting policy.
12. The Government of Sokoto State should encourage the use of organic manure along with the conventional distribution of fertilizer.
13. Sokoto Agricultural Development Project (SADP) should develop standard procedure for identifying and training of extension workers in all Local Government Area within the State.
14. Government should harmonize all existing policies on Agriculture and sustain them to ensure that the State witnesses transformation.
The workshop was entirely interactive. Participants expressed their appreciation to CISLAC for organizing and Oxfam GB for providing support to this important workshop which has scaled up the capacities of NGOs to effectively engage policy and law makers. CSOs/CBOs in Sokoto State are fully committed to collaborating with all stakeholders on issues of food security and sustain the engagement with the aim of moving the State forward.
Auwal Musa Ibrahim (Rafsanjani)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Ibrahim A. Shuni
Coalition of NGOs Sokoto State
Zainab Larai Tumaki
Sokoto State Food & Nutrition Committee
Health & Gender Initiative