By Samuel Luka, Bauchi
A Non-Governmental organization, Pastoral Resolve (PARE) has appealed to both federal and state governments to allocate more funding to agriculture, particularly the livestock sector in order to reduce poverty and improve food security across the country.
The Project Manager of the NGO, Mr. Shuaibu Aliyu Kobi who made the appeal in Bauchi on the occasion of World Food Day on Monday, said food to all creatures is very paramount not only for survival but for them to stay healthy and procreate.
Mr Kobi noted that the importance of food can not be over-emphasize due to its ability to give strength for work, protect the body against diseases and help in building as well as regulating metabolic processes.
The project manager who described food as first amongst the three essentials of life followed by clothing and shelter, explained that the Pastoral Resolve (PARE) is an NGO which has been playing key roles on food security by championing the need for Nigeria to improve on its food production, particularly, livestock in order to create more job opportunities for the teaming unemployed youths.
Mr Kobi who stressed that hunger could lead to involvement in all sort of crime, said that, that informed the decision of PARE which is been fully funded by Global Affairs Canada through Oxfam to champion the fight against it in some targeted villages of Bauchi State.
Mr. Shuaibu Aliyu Kobi stated that World Food Day is an annual day set aside by the United Nation every October 16th not only to appreciate on the food been consumed but to rise the level of awareness for more people to engage into agriculture.
“The livestock sector also helps in proving food security, employment opportunities for youths and industrial development which indirectly boost the GDP of the country”, he said.
The NGO lamented that the budgetary allocation to the sector by the States and Federal government were less based on the Moputo Declaration which require 10% budgetary allocation.
Mr. Kobi said, “based on analysis of budgets from 2017 to 2022, both States and national levels allocated around 5% to entire agricultural sector, while livestock which is a unit under agriculture received only 1% which is less than expected”.
He urged all stakeholders in the sector to double their efforts in orienting livestock farmers on improved livestock management for food security and incomes.
“The logic is clear, the more people are encouraged and supported to keep livestock or cultivate crops, the lesser the suffering before getting food”, Mr. Kobi pointed out.
He noted that PARE had in the course of carrying out its responsibility, trained over 30 women drawn from Shira and Gamawa LGAs of Bauchi state on agricultural extension services.
He said that the training has helped in increasing women participation in agriculture and standardized lives of their families or relatives.
“The seasonal training we have provided to farmers on modern farming methods which could be seen in their harvest, their output and incomes has greatly improved the wellbeing of their households”, he said.
The project manager said PARE has also distributed sprayers, chemicals, overall jackets, rain boots, grain processing machines and liquid fertilizers to unemployed youths from villages of Shira and Gamawa LGAs.
According to him, the NGO has also been serving as a linkage between farmers and fertilizer production companies, making the farmers to access fertilizer at an affordable prices which were delivered to their respective hamlets.
Mr. Kobi said in order to make women more productive, PARE trained them on how to use soya beans, groundnuts and other ingredients to make children’s nutritious consumables which has assisted many of them in uplifting their families and reduced burdens to husbands on frequent demands.
The NGO regretted that this years’ farming season came with devastating flood that washed away several farms and crops, making farmers to count losses instead of profits.
Kobi said, to that regard, PARE had organized 2-day training to youths from the flood ravaged communities on dry-season farming and water pumping machine maintenance to help close the gap.