RISING from a one day town hall meeting on food systems dialogue, the people of Sabagreia Community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has called on government and interventionist agencies to assist in the acquisition and access to non-arable lands to households interested in farming according to their needs.
The community leaders which include a serving Councillor representing Ward 9 in the area, Hon. Wueba Ayakumo, Deputy Chief of the Community, Chief Amaebi Ayawari, Youth Leader, Mr Ugo Funebi, among otgeei, also called on all households in rural communities including public servants and private sector wage earners to engage in farming and other food systems components for which they have comparative advantage to undertake.
The town hall meeting was organised by the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, a non governmental organisation, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
In his speech, the Head of LIFE-ND, Bayelsa State, Dr Panebi Ugo, said the goal of rural food systems dialogue is to engage grassroots stakeholders taking an aggressive approach to solving global hunger, as it will also address significantly the disrupted value chain globally as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and Climate Change.
He said: “The food systems dialogue is required to improve nutrition security, reduce hunger and prevalence of malnutrition in line with the national food and nutrition policy for Nigeria. It will also create more inclusive, healthier food systems, encourage collaborative approach towards building sustainable food systems and enhance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the community “called for the strengthening of public agriculture extension services to provide technical advice to promote good agricultural practices in the communities to provide availability of food and introduction of new crops and livestock.”
“Effective information sharing and dissemination on existing markets for farm inputs as well as related agricultural products and services will ensure all year farm production and reduce hunger and improve affordability of nutritious food.
“To ensure the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, all farmers should engage in mixed crop farming and diversity of livestock rearing. To ensure increased affordability and availability of nutritious and safe foods, farmers and other stakeholders should avoid sharp practices, use of harmful chemicals and adopt good agricultural practices.
“Government to facilitate the establishment of public-private managed food banks, storage facilities to store harvested surplus agricultural produce harvested in the community, this will reduce food inflation in the rural areas as currently experience in the community.
“In view of the frequent flooding experienced by the community, climate smart agriculture technologies promotion, shorelines protection as well as dredging of the rivers would assist in mitigating the effects of climate change on food production,” the communique stated.