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Stakeholders seek “National Farmers Day”

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By Abraham Adekunle

Organizations ask FG to recognize farmers’ immense contribution to Nigeria.

Often, secondary school students in Nigeria are asked to debate for or against statements such as “Boys are better than girls.” This is to stimulate their thinking process and make them come up with better arguments for either side. However, debate motions such as “A farmer is better than a teacher” tends to lean on to a side more than the other. In this situation, survival is paramount and it cannot be achieved without food.

It is then expected that farmers are recognized for their contribution to national development. The farming profession may not be seen as lucrative by the majority because of the levity with which the work is viewed. However, they hold and support the lifeline of the country by providing the necessities. Recently, the hunger levels in the country have been reported to have risen. The reasons for this include the security situation in the country as well as the hyperinflation happening in the country.

World Hunger Day spurred the request for this special day.

Thus, as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate 2023 World Hunger Day on May 28, 2023, stakeholders including National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) and others, have asked the Federal Government to declare “National Farmers Day.” They said that this will be a special day to recognize and support farmers’ immense contributions to food production and job creation for Nigerians. They also connect the country together.

Director-general and chief executive officer of NABDA, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, noted that the World Hunger Day is to increase efforts in reducing hunger from different perspectives and offer more solutions to ensure food availability. He said that the day is observed on May 28th each year as an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue of hunger and food insecurity that affects millions of people around the world. While they have made significant achievements, there is still much work to be done. “One way to address this issue is by supporting and recognizing the contributions of smallholder farmers who grow crops and foods that are the backbone of the food systems in these countries.

The event is to launch a special day for farmers.

According to Compassion International, World Hunger Day calls attention to food insecurity, malnutrition, and undernutrition and how this impacts youth, rallying global citizens to highlight sustainable solutions. It is an opportunity for everyone around the world to play a part in ending world hunger. Nonetheless, Prof. Mustapha said that the primary aim of the event is to use the commemoration of the World Hunger Day to launch a ‘National Farmers Day’ as a campaign for the Global South to showcase the role that agricultural biotechnology can play in ending hunger in our lifetime.

Meanwhile, he explained that NABDA as an agency is responsible for the deployment of Biotechnology tools in the development of the country. The agency is doing everything possible to deploy the science of genetic modification technology to combat hunger, hidden hunger, and other forms of malnutrition. The fight for food security can be better won as a team. He extended gratitude to Alliance for Science (AfS) Global South and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) for their unflinching support and partnership in this journey towards ending hunger.

Stakeholders recognize and appreciate the work of farmers in the country.

While explaining the objectives of the World Hunger Day, director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Department of NABDA and of OFAB Nigeria, Dr. Rose Gidado, revealed that the main objective of the initiative is to celebrate the day by organizing dinner for farmers in Nigeria, and at the same time use this event as a platform to launch a campaign for National Farmers Day in the country. Also, the Regional Representative for West Africa, AATF, Dr. Jean Baptiste, acknowledged the resilience and doggedness of farmers amid daunting challenges but still embarked on food production.

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