Kwara govt berated over budget allocation to agriculture

A nongovernmental organization with concern for agriculture development in Kwara state, Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), funded by ActionAid Nigeria, have criticised inadequate budgetary allocation to agriculture sector in the state.

Speaking with journalists on funding trend analysis of the state 2019 agriculture budget and allocation in Ilorin at the weekend, coordinator, Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) project, Abdulrahman Ayuba, said that budgetary allocation to agriculture sector had not been in tune with national and international benchmark in the past six years.

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“It could be recalled that agriculture was  allocated a paltry 1.38 per cent of the total state budget in 2014. It was reduced to 1.29 per cent in 2015, 0.40 per cent in 2016, 0.43 per cent in 2017, and marginally increased to 2.92 per cent in 2018, and drastically reduced to 0.44 per cent in 2019 budget.

“While the state government was applauded for the increase in allocation to the sector in 2018 budget (though this was as a result of the whopping N3 billion allocated for fertilizer procurement), it is disheartening that this year’s budgetary allocation has significantly dropped to 0.44 per cent, which fell short of the minimum 10 per cent allocation stipulated under the Maputo/Malabo declaration and commitment (CAADP)”, he said.

Ayuba, who called on the incoming administration in the state to uphold the CAADP Maputo declaration and Malabo commitment which, he said, stipulates 10 per cent minimum allocation of annual budget to agric sector, said that such could be effected in the supplementary budget review process and subsequent budget of the state.

He also said that there should be provision for credit and loan facilities for farmers, especially smallholder women farmers in the annual budget.

The PFA budget committee also recommended that the budget line should spell out the location and beneficiary local government for easy monitoring.

“We reiterate our demand on the need  to include CSOs and farmers in the monitoring and evaluation process on the implementation of the ministry projects and programmes.

“We recommend a budget line on women in agriculture to consciously support the strategic roles played by women farmers in the agriculture value chain.

“There is need for regular training and retraining of extension workers and increased funding of extension department to strengthen their capacity.

“Smallholder farmers play major roles in the agriculture value chain. Therefore, there is need for more opportunities that will enable them to actively participate in prioritizing government agriculture initiatives that will be funded through budgetary allocation.

“The Kwara state ministry of agriculture and natural resources (MANR) and the Kwara state House of Assembly should create a forum for meaningful interaction of smallholder farmers, particularly, women farmers and civil society organizations in the budgetary processes for ownership and policy articulation”, he said.

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