COVID-19: ActionAid Nigeria, SWOFON Tasks FG To Sustain Food Security

From Noah Ocheni, Lokoja

ActionAid Nigeria in partnership with SWOFON have called on the Federal Government to announce a clear policy interventions during this pandemic to mitigate on effect and sustained local food security, production and supply.

The call which was contained in a press statement jointly signed by the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi and Mary Afan made available to newsmen in Lokoja expressed worry over the consequences of the current CoronaVirus pandemic on food security in the country.

Obi explained that this also give Nigeria the opportunity to become self-reliant in food production and restricted from excessive food importation, noting that special local transactions and transportation be arranged to purchase produce from farmers directly to ensure that regular food supply is maintained.

She appeal to the Federal government that Small holder farmers especially women should be exempted from the movement restrictions while observing precautionary measures, so that they can go to their farms for work and transport their produce to the market.

The group also called for the exemption of agricultural extension agents from the movement restrictions, to enable them provide extension services support to the farmers while maintaining physical distancing and other precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the CoronaVirus.

“Urgently, smallholder women farmers should be provided with agricultural
insurance services as the outcomes of a recent research by AAN indicates that
the impact of Government Agricultural Insurance (GAI) provision over the years
to women farmers was very poor in Nigeria.” the statement added.

ActionAid Nigeria also urged the government to provide grants, credit, essential inputs, early maturing livestock, improved seedlings and fertilizers preferably organic, for small holder farmers especially women to avert the looming food crisis.

“The dangerous issue of Army worm invasion which is currently ravaging in Abia State should be addressed across the country. Agroecology for climate change adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable food production should be supported, promoted, and funded by the government at all levels.” the statement added.

“Provision of face masks, hand gloves, sanitizers, and access to clean water for
farmers across Nigeria should be prioritised and included in the national response on COVID-19 while farmers across Nigeria be targeted specifically and sensitised on COVID-19.”

“The security agencies and taskforces at all levels be directed to stop the harassment and extortion of farmers
especially women. This should be monitored by the Divisional Police Officers across board and defaulting officers disciplined appropriately”, she stressed .

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