Stakeholders Capacity Building Workshop Explores Policy Responses to Global Shocks Impacting Nigeria’s Development

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By Ify Onyekwere

To address the far-reaching impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war and other global crises on Nigeria’s economy and development, a pivotal Stakeholders Capacity Building Workshop was convened on the 29th of August, 2023, in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop, titled “Experiences and Policy Responses in Nigeria to Price Shock Stemming from the Russia-Ukraine War and Other Global Crises,” was organized by The Innovation Lab for Policy Leadership in Agriculture and Food Security¬† (PiLAF), and it witnessed the convergence of distinguished experts and representatives from various sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The opening ceremony commenced with a warm welcome and the rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem, setting a patriotic tone for the discussions ahead. Dr. Benjamin Oyelami, the Policy Communications Manager of the Innovation Lab for Policy Leadership in Agriculture and Food Security (PILAF), led the proceedings by introducing esteemed guests from diverse organizations. Notable attendees included representatives from

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)/Farm Input Support Services Department (FISS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF), Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment Weight and Measures Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development/Department of Food & Strategic Reserve, Majesty Foundation, National Assembly of (NASS), All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), SMAN, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Fertilizer Committee, Farmers First Initiative and Nigeria Midstream & Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

Prof. Adegbenga Adekoya, the Principal Investigator of PILAF, conveyed the essence of the workshop’s objectives. He highlighted the critical role of data analysis in understanding the impacts of various shocks on Nigeria’s economy. Prof. Adekoya underscored PILAF’s commitment to contributing to the ongoing discourse on issues affecting the nation and expressed the intention to collaborate with stakeholders in formulating informed policy responses.

Meanwhile, Mr. Iredele Ogunbayo, the Administrative Manager at PILAF, illuminated the broader context of the workshop. He emphasized that Africa, including Nigeria, faced significant challenges emanating from global crises, particularly the Russia-Ukraine war. The agricultural sector, pivotal to Nigeria’s economy, was profoundly affected. Mr. Ogunbayo elucidated PILAF’s mission of involving stakeholders at all stages of policy development to ensure responsive and practical solutions.

 

  Workshop session

On the other hand, Dr. Oreoluwa Akano, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at PILAF, took the stage to present a comprehensive overview of the impacts of shocks on food and fertilizer prices and availability in Nigeria. Dr. Akano’s speech underscored the need for coordinated responses involving diverse stakeholders, including government bodies, private sectors, farmers, and unions. His presentation laid the foundation for further discussions on policy formulation.

The workshop progressed into interactive sessions featuring experts representing various sectors who stressed the urgency of enhancing food security policies to address the rising food costs due to security concerns affecting farmers’ activities. He advocated for increased food production as a solution.

Another participant highlighted the significance of aligning policies with the interests of rural farmers, while Nwali Perpetual Nkechi, from the Farmers First Initiative, emphasized the importance of including women farmers in policy deliberations.

On the energy front, a member of the stakeholders present advocated for technological advancements in cleaner energy sources to reduce petroleum dependence. Participants also discussed strategies for alternative crop drying methods to minimize food wastage.

On fertilizer, stakeholders called for collaborative efforts in production and distribution, utilizing agricultural waste to create valuable resources. The potential of versatile products like Noni was explored for optimized resource utilization.

The workshop served as an illuminating platform for experts and stakeholders to address the multifaceted challenges arising from global crises collectively. It highlighted the urgency of inclusive policies and coordinated efforts to safeguard Nigeria’s development trajectory against external shocks.

A contributor echoed the need for a united effort, emphasizing the establishment of research laboratories to foster innovation and self-reliance in food production. They underscored the potential of such initiatives to drive sustainable solutions, reducing dependence on imported goods.

The voice of the youth resonated strongly, with some attendees who advocated for the active involvement of young individuals in shaping food policies. This dynamic engagement, he argued, could infuse new ideas and vigour into the policy implementation process, fostering accelerated progress.

Throughout the discussions, a common thread was the recognition of the crucial role of women in agriculture as there was an impassioned plea for including women’s perspectives in policy formulation underscored the need to ensure that policies resonated with the realities of all stakeholders, particularly those who often bear the brunt of challenges.

On the energy and fertilizer fronts, participants acknowledged the imperative of embracing technological advancements for cleaner energy solutions as some members called for a shift toward cleaner energy sources aligned with the global push for sustainability, reducing Nigeria’s vulnerability to fuel shocks and environmental degradation.

As the workshop ended, it was evident that the gathered insights and recommendations would shape the narrative of responsive and adaptive policies for Nigeria’s sustainable growth, strengthening the nation’s resilience in the face of global turbulence.

The workshop’s impact was palpable as stakeholders emerged from the sessions with a renewed sense of purpose and a shared commitment to translating the discussions into tangible policy actions. The rich diversity of perspectives and experiences highlighted the importance of collaboration and cross-sectoral engagement in addressing the intricate challenges facing Nigeria.

The Stakeholders Capacity Building Workshop was not merely a gathering of minds but a crucible of ideas, insights, and commitments. It served as a testament to Nigeria’s resilience and determination to forge a path of progress despite the challenges posed by global crises. As stakeholders dispersed, they carried a shared resolve to transform discussions into actions, turning policy recommendations into impactful changes that would shape Nigeria’s trajectory for years to come.

 

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