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The Rural Environmental Empowerment Initiative
The emphasis here is to create an advocacy platform that engages communities as well as collaborate with other critical stakeholders across related sectors on the need to focus efforts pragmatically at ensuring national food security. Going by the fact that food security relates to a situation where and when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life, T.R.E.E. Initiative seeks to conceptualize initiatives, create platforms, implement programs, promote policies and collaborate with agencies and organizations to achieve food security in Nigeria.
It is globally accepted that food production is sensitive to climate. From observations, a year of less rain or too much rainfall, higher or lower temperatures at the wrong time, or extremes, like flooding and heavy storms, can have a significant effect on local crop yields and even poultry or livestock production. One of the consequences of deforestation is higher temperatures which will have direct impact on farm yields. Changes in rainfall pattern also affect both crop quality and quantity. Ultimately, climate change which is now the resultant effect of several factors could lead to increase in the prices of major crops. For the most vulnerable people particularly in rural communities, lower agricultural output means less income, and this will eventually affect access to food. T.R.E.E. Initiative is and will continue to be involved in capacity building arrangements, productive partnerships, collaborations and engagements that promotes and supports the Agriculture sector for the ultimate purpose of food security.
NATIONAL RICE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL ADVOCACY
T.R.E.E. Initiative initiated and is also at the forefront of the #GiveUsRiceCouncil campaign with the support of stakeholders in the Rice Sector. The campaign is borne out of the need to have a National Rice Development Council backed by an act of Parliament to protect and manage the interest of the over 12 million smallholder rice farmers in Nigeria.
Rice is Nigeria’s No 1 staple food and the most popular meal in every household. Our annual domestic rice demand is estimated to be in excess of 5 million metric tons. This implies that Nigerians consume about 5 billion kilograms of rice every year.
This campaign is in support of Nigerian Rice Farmers and T.R.E.E. Initiative is leading the advocacy.
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON RIGHT TO FOOD
Under the Food Security thematic area, T.R.E.E. Initiative in 2018 was deeply involved in the rejuvenation of the waning campaign on Right to Food Bill. The National Campaign on Right to Food is a policy advocacy campaign led by Voices for Food Security (VFS), a coalition of NGOs with the support of OXFAM in Nigeria. The goal of the campaign is to alter Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution to make ‘Food’ a justiciable right.
It is important to ensure that “Right to Food” reflects in Chapter 4 as a matter of constitutional amendment otherwise food will be treated by government as mere charity and not as a right as stated in various international treaties and conventions.
Notwithstanding the support from OXFAM in Nigeria and a few other development agencies, the Right to Food Bill has suffered repeated setbacks in the 6th, 7th and 8th Assembly. However, in a bid to push the campaign further, we engaged incumbents and aspirants running for National Assembly seats on the importance of the Bill. This is to create awareness among those that matter as well as those that will matter in the determination of the destiny of the Bill in the 9th Assembly.
T.R.E.E. Initiative at the instance of OXFAM in Nigeria in 2018 also lead the VFS team on an advocacy visit to the 32nd Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samai'la Muhammad Mera, CON at his Palace in Argungu, Kebbi State to draw his support and endorsement in other to get the bill passed by the National Assembly. The Emir of Argungu is a farmer and former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kebbi State. He is currently the Chancellor of North West University, Kano and also the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Nigeria.