Agence France-Presse

Farmers in Nasarawa state, Oxfam in Nigeria and a coalition of civil society organisations have called on the state government to create grazing reserves to reduce frequent clashes between farmers and pastoralists in the state.

They also called on the state government to come up with a legislation to back the creation of the grazing reserves.

The stakeholders encouraged the state government to upgrade all the seven grazing reserves in the state to boost livestock production.

The stakeholders include: All Farmers Association, Nasarawa State Agricultural Development Project, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN).

They also called for increased budgetary allocation to agriculture by the state government to 10 per cent in line with the Maputo Declaration.

The stakeholders at the end of a one-day workshop on “Agriculture Budget Priorities” in Keffi, Nasarawa state, said that there was need for the state government to increase its budgetary allocation to the sector to align with the Maputo declaration.

They said this will help to ensure that appropriate resources are made available for agricultural development in the state to address both economic development and food security.

The stakeholders, in a communiqué by President of ASSAPIN, Joshua Jonathan, noted that increased allocation and funding to the sector would enhance economic development and food security.

They also demanded for the inclusion of small holder farmers in the agricultural budget process in order to capture their needs and address their priorities.

The stakeholders also stressed the need for the recruitment, training and retraining of extension workers in the state to augment the 100 currently serving them.

They also encouraged the Nasarawa Agricultural Development Programme to collaborate with professional organisations, research institutes and non-governmental organisations to build the capacity of extension workers to impact on the production of small holder farmers.

Similarly, the stakeholders urged the state government to encourage farmers to engage in dry season farming by providing water pumps and other infrastructure.

They maintained that irrigation farming was more profitable than rain-fed farming in the quest for sustainable food security.

The stakeholders also sought interventions from the state government in the areas of improved technology farm inputs, proper guidance on how to access available credit facilities.

Also of concern to them was the need for the state government to make concerted effort through appropriate legislation to provide land for women and youth farmers in the state.

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