The United Nations, on Monday, announced that it had reached an agreement with the Federal Government to develop tools for monitoring public spending in agriculture.

The agreement also covers monitoring of the effects of public policies on prices for farmers and producers in Nigeria.

It said the agreement was reached between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

The UN said both parties had renewed their collaboration for the next five years and signed the first work plan to help repurpose budgets, incentivize producers, and speed up inclusive agricultural transformation.

“The renewed collaboration, through the Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies program, a leading technical and policy support initiative at FAO, covers eight partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria,” the FAO stated in a statement it issued in Abuja.

It added, “The first work plan, for 2022/2023, will involve monitoring public spending devoted to the sector to better understand spending patterns, priorities and bottlenecks, and how public policies affect price incentives for agricultural commodities relative to international prices, influencing farmers’ decisions to produce or trade a commodity.”

The UN agency stated that it was time to rethink, repurpose and rethink the agriculture sector of the Nigerian economy.

“Globally, there is huge momentum for countries to rethink, repurpose and reform their policies on food and agriculture,” MAFAP Manager and Senior Economist at FAO, Christian Derlagen, stated.

He added, “We are pleased to renew and strengthen the MAFAP program in Nigeria, standing ready to support the Nigerian government with economic analyses and advice.

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“This is to drive agricultural transformation forward for agrifood sector growth, better nutrition and affordable diets, and easier market access for farmers.”

The global institution stated that work was already underway with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation to review the amount and breakdown of federal public expenditures on food and agriculture.

“The FAO team is also performing an analysis to better understand the effects of public policies on key agricultural commodity prices, and the effect of market access costs within a given value chain on prices that producers fetch,” it stated.

It added that “this analysis can reveal whether farmers are incentivized to produce or trade these staple foods, thus helping efforts towards food security and nutrition from a public policy perspective.”

The FAO Representative in Nigeria, Fred Kafeero, was quoted as saying, “MAFAP’s technical and policy support is aligned with new FAO’s Global Strategic Framework 2022-2031 to build more sustainable and efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life while leaving no one behind.”

The statement noted that the portfolio of technical and policy support was expected to contribute to the implementation of the recently adopted National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy.

It also quoted the Director of Planning and Policy Coordination, FMARD, Ibrahim Bello, as saying, “The new NATIP is a six-year national agricultural policy, aimed at sustainable development of the national technological and innovative capacity to fast-track increased agricultural productivity, ensure resilience and growth of the agricultural sector.

“It will ensure a shift from subsistence farming to modern agriculture to not only guarantee food security but contribute widely to economic diversification and job creation.”

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