As the World Food Day is marked Tuesday, Bauchi stakeholders in the agricultural sector have called on governments at all levels as well as, organizations in Nigeria to invest in water infrastructures to ensure massive food production and security.
According to the stakeholders, investing in key areas of water infrastructures such as dams, irrigation systems and water treatment facilities would guarantee reliable water supply and improve water quality.
The stakeholders made the call at the 2023 Interactive Forum for World Food Day organized by the Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative(FAWOYDI) and Bauchi chapter of Small Scale Farmers Organization in Nigeria in collaboration with the Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with Support from ActionAid Nigeria.
Speaking at the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP) conference hall, the venue of the event, the Executive Director, Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, Mrs Dinah Daniel Istifanus said access to clean water is indeed a fundamental human right which plays a crucial role in ensuring food security.
She added that the availability of clean water is essential for agricultural activities, food production and the over-all well-being of individuals and communities.
According to her, contaminated water sources can cause waterborne diseases, leading to malnutrition and other health complications that can affect food security and overall human development.
Mrs Dinah stressed that by ensuring access to clean water, people can improve sanitation and hygiene practices, thereby reducing the risk of disease transmission and promote better nutrition.
“By Integrating efforts to enhance access to clean water and improve food security, we can create a more sustainable and equitable world”, she said.
Dinah explained that World Food Day serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of the aforementioned issues and the urgency to work towards ensuring that everyone has enough food and clean water for a healthy and prosperous future.
Also Speaking on the Charter of Demand 2023, the State Coordinator SWOFON, Hajiya Marka Abbas said that women farmers carry out about 80 percent of agricultural production, 60 percent of agricultural processing activities and 50 percent animal husbandry and related activities, yet they are having access to less than 20 percent agricultural assets and are faced with challenges.
She said that the demand of SWOFON include creating budget lines for funding and implementation of the National Gender policy by the Bauchi state government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as ensuring that the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development implement conduct interactive session with Smallholder Women farmers in order to capture real time budget issues that will make the budget and policy processes inclusive.
Other demands according to her include focusing massive investments on irrigation farming by the State Ministry of Agriculture in tackling post-harvest losses through the provision of water pumps, solar energy, improved short life seeds, processing facilities, storage facilities, trainings, market access, to mitigate climate change and food insecurity in the state amongst other demands.
Speaking on the effects of water pollution on plants, humans and the environment, Principal Chemical Engineer from the Bauchi State Urban Water Sewerage Corporation (BSUWSC), Engineer Isyaku Hashimu cautioned resident against throwing waste products in drainages, wells and water-waste as well as the over-use of pesticides, fertilizers.
According to him, such actions can contaminate water sources, thereby leading to diseases that can affect humans, plants and animals.