8 April 2021 By Ifeanyi Osita
A Non Governmental Organization, Health Of Mother Earth Foundation has called for the withdrawal of the Plant Variety Protection Bill before the president to allow for wider public consultations and inputs from small scale farmers to ensure food safety and sovereignty.
The Director of the Non Governmental Organization, Mr Nnimmo Bassey made the call in Abuja during a Stakeholders Dialogue on Food system and Policy.
The Stakeholders Dialogue on Food System and Policy discussed the various policies and challenges for food safety and sovereignty as well as concerns for the bill on Plant Variety Protection.
The Plant Variety Protection bill provides patent-like rights to breeders, developers and owners of plant varieties
Mr Nnimmo Bassey observed that the small scale farmers who contribute over 70% of food produced worldwide are mostly ignored during policy formulation.
Mr Bassey who explained that the Plant Variety Protection Bill which is presently before the president for assent, posed great challenge to agriculture and farming due to the clauses in the bill.
He emphasized the need for the inclusion of farmers who might be criminalized through the legislation.
The Director of HOMEF also called for a coherent food policy for Nigeria and the African continent.
A development consultant and facilitator for agric and food security policy commission, Mrs Gloria Ekpo noted that many of the food policies in the country from Independence to date, lacked cohesion, coordination and inclusivity which had affected productivity, food sovereignty and safety.
She stressed the need to always carry along small scale farmers especially those at the grassroots in policy formulation.
Some of the participants at the dialogue believed that if government and other stakeholders implemented the outcomes of most policy dialogues, the challenges would be addressed.