Agriculture: Organisation Seek Improved Budgetary Provision For Kwara

Agriculture: Organisation Seek Improved Budgetary Provision For Kwara

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A coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, has called for improved budgetary provision for small-holder farmers in Kwara State, North-Central, Nigeria.

This, the coalition said, would allow for effective planning and delivery of government’s interventions in the sector.

The CSOs made the call at a news conference on the analysis of 2024 Kwara agriculture budget, on Monday in Ilorin.

The Executive Director, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication, CCEPE, Mr Abdurrahman Ayuba, who spoke on behalf of the CSOs, said the this year’s 2024 agriculture budget was abysmally low, compared with what obtained in 2023.

”The budget in 2023 was 2.12 per cent, while that of 2024 is just 1.49. There was a drop of 0.63 per cent. The 1.49 per cent is far below the international benchmark.

”We, therefore, urge the government to increase its agriculture budget to meet the 10 per cent Maputo/Malabo Declaration and Commitment.

”Also, there should be improved budgetary provision for the small-holder farmers, for hand-held devices, such as mini-tractors, weeders and planters, which will reach more farmers than the big tractors they find difficult to access and maintain.

”We, however, observed that in the 2024 agriculture budget, women in agriculture, received N11,379,900, which represents 0.26% of the total budget.

”This is commendable, when compared to what was provided in the year 2023, which was a paltry sum of N3,000,000; this is encouraging,” he said.

Equipment & Training
Ayuba called on government to do more for women in agriculture, especially in the area of women-friendly farming equipment and value addition.

”We advise the state government to also seek collaboration with relevant stakeholders, like National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation, NCAM, for production of farmer- friendly equipment like mini-tractors, weeders, etc,” he said.

He recommended continuous training for women farmers on modern farming techniques and best practices in order to increase productivity in the agriculture value chain.

”The committee has observed persistent zero budgetary allocation for farmers on access to credit; we encourage the government to allocate funds to this key area.

”The funds can be used for capacity building by the ministry of agriculture and natural resources to educate women farmers and support them on how to access available credit facilities with commercial banks and microfinance banks,” he said.

The CSOs like Welfare for Children and Teenagers Initiative, Fulfilling Dreams Foundation, Worthy Life Education/Health Foundation and FEMCOM were represented at the occasion.