ECOWAS member states have been urged to increase their budgetary allocation to agricultural production.
Senator Biodun Olujimi , a Nigerian and member of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Parliament made the call in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing ECOWAS Parliament delocalized meeting in Bissau, the capital of Guinea Bissau.
Senato Olujimi said that food sufficiency is key to the growth and development of any country noting that most people in West Africa migrate to other countries as a result of inadequate food.
“If we have sufficient food in West Africa then migration will be minimized. Many people in the community do travel to other parts of the world due to lack of food.” She revealed.
Senator Olujimi further called on governments in West Africa to increase their yearly budgets in the agricultural sector to boost food production in the region.
“Budgets should be done to favour agricultural production especially mechanized farming. Physical work is not too ideal for agricultural work.” She explained.
Senator Olujimi commended the government of Guinea Bissau for been proactive in overcoming the natural factors that has mitigated the growth of agriculture of the country.
“The people and government of Guinea Bissau are trying their best to transform all their negatives into positives.”Climate change, flooding and deforestation are major challenges in West Africa. But they (Guinea Bissau) are making better use of what they have to address their problems.
“Their livestock are doing well and they have a peculiar climate.” She noted.
Joao Lona Tchedna, the Coastal Project Coordinator National Institute of Meteorology of Guinea Bissau disclosed that his country Guinea Bissau has not been doing well in the area of food production due to environmental challenges faced by his country.
He therefore, called on other countries in the region for external support.
“Despite the improvements made in many areas, the region should pay key attention to: National and private Sector Investment in agriculture, foreign private sector investment in agriculture, access to finance, and eradicating of hunger,” He lamented.
He observed that access to finance is a challenge affecting agricultural production.
“Increase in public agricultural expenditure as part of total public expenditure, provide a favorable environment that facilitates business activity with a view to increasing the relationship between national private sector investment and public investment in agriculture.
Mr Tchedna urged West Africa governments to devise means of increasing the number of men and women involved in agriculture with access to financial services so that more youth will be involved in agricultural work.
Source: Voice of Nigeria