Food Security: Kogi Govt promises to stem rising food inflation, pledges support for SWOFON.

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Food Security: Kogi Govt promises to stem rising food inflation, pledges support for SWOFON.
Kogi state government has reiterated its commitment to changing her poor ranking on food inflation index in the country as more priority would be given to  smallholder women farmers who produce over 70 per cent of food supply in the state.
The state Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Timothy Ojoma disclosed this on Wednesday in Lokoja at the Presentation and Dissemination of Scorecard on Smallholder Women Farmers Access to Agricultural Inputs and Training in Kogi State.
The Programme was organized by Kogi chapter of Small-Scale Women Farmers in Nigeria (SWOFON) in partnership with Kogi State Budget Committee Group (BCG) with support from ActionAid Nigeria.
The Commissioner emphasized the crucial role of smallholder women farmers and the need to empower them as key players in the Agriculture sector.
“Government will continue to do everything possible to provide empowerment for women farmers in the bid to boost their productivity and income earnings.
“Efforts will also be made by the Kogi Government to encourage Small-Scale farming and mechanised Agriculture”, Ojoma said.
The commissioner also hinted that the state government would soon embark on biometric data capturing of all farmers in the state to ease decision making and access to the farmers in their numbers and categories.
He said that through such available data, it would be easier to know where, when, type and quantity of inputs needed by the farmers as he pledged government’s support for the women farmers.
Presenting the Scorecard, Hamza Aliyu, Executive Director, Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) said government had made little or no impact on Smallholder Farmers in provision of Agricultural inputs.
According to him, “Kogi State is always ranking highest on food inflation index in the country due mainly to lack of commitment on the part of government to assist smallholder farmers who produce over 70 per cent of food supply in the state.”
He said that government had lost its relevance on agricultural production in the state due to a lot of reasons ranging from inadequate budgeting for the sector and non release of budgetary provisions to lack of extension services, inputs and training among others.
Mr Matthias Okpanachi, Chairman of Kogi Budget Committee Group (BCG) in his opening remarks underscored the critical importance of scorecard dissemination with focus on smallholder women farmers’ access to agricultural inputs and training in Kogi.
He noted that women farmers play pivotal roles in the nation’s Agriculture sector, contributing significantly to food security, rural development and economic growth but that in spite of these, they lack access to Agricultural inputs and training opportunities.
“By ensuring that small holder women farmers have equitable access to quality agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, tools and technologies, we can enhance their productivity, improve crop yields and ultimately boost their income levels”, Okpanachi said.
In her remarks, Hajia Rukayat Ahmed, Coordinator, Kogi Chapter of SWOFON, said the programme was targeted at boosting food security as well as alleviating poverty and hunger in Nigeria through analysis of the scorecard to chart the way forward.
She called on government at all levels to give priority attention to empowerment of women farmers through adequate and timely provision of Agricultural inputs and the needed training in agriculture to enable them make impact in food production.” (Ends)

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