The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), the umbrella body of Nigerian farmers, has disclosed the failure of the heads of state and government of the African Union (AU).
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The failure to abide by the 2003 Maputo Declaration – to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budget to food and agriculture, under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme is costing rising food insecurity in the continent.
In addition, the farmers body also noted that this is bringing rise in annual food import in Nigeria and others on the continent, which is expected to hit $110 billion by 2030, from its current $35 billion. Indeed, AFAN said that out of the $35 billion annual food imports spending,
Nigeria is responsible for $22 billion of it, saying that this shows that Nigeria is the epicenter of changing the paradigm on the continent’s food imports spending. National President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, said in a report titled: ‘Public Expenditure on Food and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, challenges, and Priorities,’ that only few countries have met the 10 per cent Maputo target, despite a renewed commitment in 2014 through the Malabo Declaration.
The association explained in the report that in 2003, the heads of state and government of the African Union recognised that greater public spending on agriculture was needed to eradicate hunger and poverty across the continent.
This prompted them to make a political commitment – the Maputo Declaration – to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budget to food and agriculture, under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.
However, the report said almost 20 years later, many countries, including 13 studied in a new research, have not yet reached the objective pledged in Maputo.
Ibrahim emphasised in the report that this is the reason the AFAN and others have been clamouring that leaders of African countries must start looking inward to promote their agro-allied sector and discourage dependency on food imports globally because it is not helping the continent’s economy economically.
Besides, the AFAN report showed that researchers have called on the continent to improve public expenditure monitoring systems and to pinpoint how and where funds should be best disbursed for food security, nutrition, and agricultural production.
Indeed, the report aligned that the continent is facing an unprecedented economic crisis that could push an additional five million to 29 million people into poverty, end up to 19 million jobs and raise the number of undernourished people in foodimporting countries by an additional 14.4 million to 80.3 million people.
The AFAN national president in the report called for land tax for unused agricultural land, to provide incentives for faster commercialisation of agriculture and unlocking its potential in Africa.
According to him, Africa held the key for feeding nine billion people by 2050.č ■