Nigerian farmers on Tuesday declared that they will only cast their votes for politicians with workable policies that will ensure food security and enhance agricultural production across the country when elected to official positions.
The farmers, who spoke under the aegis of the Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria, whose parent body is the Voices for Food Security, stated that politicians should during their campaigns discuss how to improve the country’s agricultural sector, a development that would positively impact on the lives of farmers.
“Nigerian farmers will only vote for politicians with sound food policies. Policies that will ensure food security, considering the fact that the fall in global oil price is seriously affecting our country’s earnings negatively,” a representative of ASSAPIN, Mrs. Mariam Buhari, said.
Buhari, while speaking during a press briefing organised by Oxfam Nigeria, stated that Nigerian farmers decided to come up with a farmers’ manifesto, adding that politicians would have to endorse and pledge to commit to its dictates in order to drive the agricultural sector to amiable heights.
She said, “There are needs in the sector that have to be addressed. Particularly, women in agriculture face a lot of challenges and that is why we are saying that any politician that doesn’t have sound policies that will ensure meaningful improvements in the sector should forget our (farmers) votes.”
Speaking also at the briefing, a member of the group and Head, Madakiya Mondiccu Cooperative Society, Mrs. Monica Maigari, said it might be difficult for the government to fund its bills if it continues to relegate agriculture to the background.
She said, “Oil prices are nose-diving and Nigeria is losing revenue as a result of this. This is the time to harness agriculture so that through the sector the government can generate revenue to run its activities. But if farmers are neglected, then it will be tough for the government to actualise this.”
The Programme Officer, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Mr. Salaudeen Hashim, said food insecurity posed a pervasive and non-violent threat to the existence of individuals, considering the fact that hunger significantly shortens life expectancy, undermines quality of life and limits participation in income generating activities.