Treasure Ochemeje lokoja..
Stakeholders in the Agriculture Budget for 2022 has warned that unless the security of farmers and their farms is guaranteed, national security ,hunger, social insecurity and the peace of the country will continue to be threatened.
The stakeholders which include ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Department of Agriculture & Water Resources and the Ecowas Commission gave the warning during their Consultative Meeting held Wednesday in Lagos .
According to the communique at the end of meeting and made available to Treasuretimes said the meeting on 2022 Agriculture Budget is aimed at facilitating conversations amongst key stakeholders connecting the continental framework – the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) targets and Government intentions within the Agricultural Sector in Nigeria .
It called for strengthening of citizens’ Participation towards making 2022 Agriculture budget responsive for food security and wealth creation.
The meeting emphasised the need for adequate funding of agricultural mechanisation to create not only more foods but also jobs to engage restless youths that have turned to crime for a living.
According to the communique , the meeting observed that ” Smallholder women farmers have continually been given a back seat in the discussion, planning and implementation of agricultural budget, despite their role of contributing over 70% of agricultural production.
” The Agricultural sector budget is still bedevilled by late budget releases and policy inconsistency. In the light of late budget releases, MDAs need to itemise their priorities and give a proper timeline that synchronizes with farmers and farm season. Without such timed budget, capital budget releases may not be coming at the time when farmers seek them.
” Though the capital projects utilization in the agriculture sector in 2020 seem to have improved, it can hardly be said that these allocations largely affected the practices of smallholder farmers who were confronted with both COVID19, herders-farmers clashes, natural disasters, late budget releases and crowd-outs by political farmers and contractors who are the budget first liners.
“There is inadequate awareness and knowledge on the CAADP/ Malabo performance indicators by stakeholders (Ministries, Departments and Agencies, State Ministries, Farmer Organizations, CSOs, Private Sector, etc.).
“. Access to credit and financial services (from government and non-governmental channels) by smallholder farmers particularly women, is very poor at an average of 43%” It noted.
The meeting commended ActionAid Nigeria for the successful deployment of the Non-State Actors Biennial Review Toolkit (VABKIT) , Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for their collaboration in prioritizing agriculture as a core driver of the economy.
Meanwhile a total number of 60 physical participants attended (23 female and 37male).