The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement has called for urgent and massive investment in the agriculture sector, in order to stabilise consumption of home-grown products.
Hesitant President Muhammadu Buhari signed the AfCFTA agreement on 7 July 2019 in Niamey after he was convinced to sign the deal which many other countries keyed into except Nigeria and three others as at 7 July 2019.
They emphasised that massive and unprecedented investment in the sector would boost domestic consumption, rural infrastructural development and export promotion with many opportunities for the country to exploit.
The stakeholders made this known in a communiqué on Monday, 22 July 2019, in Abuja issued from the two-day Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on the 2020 Agriculture Budget that ended in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital at the weekend.
The organisers of the meeting included Action Aid Nigeria, Oxfam in Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission and CAADP Non-State Actors Coalition (CNC), in collaboration with Ministry of Budget and Planning.
They called for allocations to the Comprehensive Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in the 2019 Agriculture budget to be released 100 percent.
They said the money would support the coordination of the agriculture sector and knowledge building on the CAADP and Malabor performance indicators.
They recommended that the CAADP and Malabor indicators should be adopted and used at state level and build the capacity of state level stakeholders on the CAADP and Malabor performance indicators.
Among various recommendations, the stakeholders said the gains made by the sector’s MDAs should be sustained and improved upon in the 2020 agriculture budget.
They requested that the budget should be increased to address the input gaps experienced by smallholder farmers, especially women.
According to them, a strategy for involving and mainstreaming the concerns of smallholder farmers should be developed for 2020 and subsequent years of agriculture and policy making processes.