COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT A ONE DAY CAPACITY BUILDING SESSION FOR CSOs & CBOs ON POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY FOR FOOD SECURITY HELD AT AL-BHUSTAN HOTELS LIMITED, KATSINA STATE ON THE 6TH DECEMBER, 2012.
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a one day Capacity Building session for CSOs and CBOs in Katsina State on Policy and Legislative Advocacy for Food Security, with support from Oxfam GB. The training drew 25 participants from NGOs, CBOs, FBO and media. After exhaustive deliberations on the issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:
- There is an existing farming tradition amongst indigenes on agriculture that runs through generations in the state.
- The absence of stakeholders such as the Marketing Board, Farmer Supply Company and extension workers is a serious threat to food security in Katsina State.
- Farmers in the state have preference for organic manure over the conventional fertilizers but lack the know-how on the application.
- The purchase of over 400 tractors and other farm implements purchased by the government ended up in the hands of politicians and are not accessible by small scale farmers.
- The involvement of traditional rulers in the enlightenment of the rural farmers was once identified as an instrument that encouraged and increased yields, but the traditional heads are no longer interested owing to insufficient support from government.
- Corrupt practices and political interferences were indentified as key tool that threatens the issue of food security in the state.
- Party politics have influenced fertilizer distribution in Katsina State which resultant effect translated into protest by some communities on health workers to administer vaccines.
- Arable land in Katsina State is under utilized for agricultural purposes.
- 450 farms were destroyed by storms and floods and the government is yet to put in place any intervention to cushion the effect on affected farmers.
- Inadequate government support to irrigation farming was identified.
- The official price for fertilizer is =N=1,750/bag but the market value is =N=7000. This identified gap is a huge threat to food availability.
- Shortage of food storage, processing, packaging and marketing facilities is a factor that often makes farmers to sale farm produce at a loss and this is considered discouraging.
- The hording attitude of middle men in the state were identified as one of the major factors that suppresses the economic transformation of farmers.
- The Government of Katsina State should strengthen institutions such as the Marketing Board, Farmer Supply Company, Kastina Agricultural Development Program as this would allow for accessibility and affordability of fertilizers to farmers and other agro allied product.
- The government should make provision for leasing of mechanized farming tools for farmers, particularly those who are in the medium and small scale.
- Donor organization and other private sector investor should intervene in the capacity building as well as financial linkages amongst peasant farmers. This would help sustain food availability.
- The need for rural farmers’ groups and corporative societies to be more organized and well coordinated was recommended as this would be critical in advocating and increase accessibility to government incentives.
- The Government should sensitize farmers on the use of organic manure and how to preserve them for future farming period.
- Government should ensure that adequate infrastructure/facilities is in place to increase the processing, marketing and value addition to farm produce and curtail rural/urban migration.
- Government should also ensure that proper coordination and implementation of agricultural policy is in place as was done in the oil and gas industry. This will promote interest of private sector in investing within the sector.
- The government should put in place policy that is bottom–top in its approach to capture various interest groups and their needs in the sustenance of food security in the state.
- Government should make land available, accessible to small & medium scale farmers to improve food security.
- Government should support and encourage irrigation farming as this would complement the conventional season and reduce poverty.
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 Katsina 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 Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
Rabi Sani A.J
Nigeria Association of Women Journalist
Association For Literacy Support Services