While the budget for agriculture in Lagos State continues on a downward journey, the Humanity Family Foundation For Peace and Development (HUFFPED) has applauded efforts of women farmers in Badagry Local Government Area of the state who against adequate support have remained on the farm to support their families.
In a recent rally in Badagry, Lagos State, HUFFPED interacted with women farmers, listening to their plights as the nation must continue to produce more food in the face of climate change and other challenges.
Kpongbe Timothy is the Programme Officer with HUFFPED on the project tagged ‘Local Rice Programme’ funded by ActionAid Nigeria who interacted with the media after the event.
“For ten years, we have worked with two communities in Badagry West Local government, namely Wesere and Afoigi. The intervention from ActionAid Nigeria is divided into four groups: humanitarian, women’s right, education and agroecology,” he explained.
According to him the event of the day happened because of the organisation’s work on agroecology.
“It is because of the agroecology move that we held today’s programme. We were at the Ministry of Agriculture in Oko Oba, Agege to review our agriculture budget in favour of rural farmers.
“Amongst our intervention and activities to make sure agriculture becomes a better sector is that we analysed the budget and came up with the conclusion that our budget keep decreasing annually instead of increasing and it is below the Maputo declaration which has to be 10 to 12 percent,” he explained worried about the decline in agric budget which may have grievous implications.
Explaining further on the decrease of budget for agriculture in Lagos State, he said the decrease is not a good development.
“Here in 2017, it was one percent and it has been on the decrease level till date. Our move today is to create more awareness and sensitise people in line with low yields in agric produce due to climate change.
“It has actually brought about so much discouragement and barriers. In this regards, we try to encourage farmers so ensure that we have food our tables to eat,” he said.
Model agroecology (agric ecosystem practices) farms in each of the communities, according to him enable effective use of resources to avoid wastage.
HUFFPED through the support of ActionAid Nigeria has trained community members especially the women on the practice of agroecology and to replicate the model farms in their communities.
“We have found that it has been highly productive as it was well accepted. We empowered the women farmers with seeds after which we came to their level to follow up and ascertain the number that are practicing what we taught them. It was after that we discovered that the teaching and learning exercises were positive,” he said.
Meanwhile the choice of Badagry roundabout as a center point for the rally was deliberate in order to attract more community women and raise awareness.
Climate change, resilience and sustainable agriculture were other issues discussed at the rally. HUFFPED in its project also promotes sustainable agriculture in the face of the changing climate. This system encourages farmers to strive harder and cultivate adaptive means in order to handle climate change and get bountiful harvest at the end of the day.
“It is a kind of move to make people see agriculture as a fruitful venture and for our nation to have food in surplus regardless of climate change.
“Having the knowledge to prove their rights as women, we followed it up with empowering them in terms of having food to produce for personal consumption and sell.
“There are lots of roles government can play, haven taken the women through the sensitisation programme, government can help with providing communities with water and come up with the innovations for food security,” he concluded.