ActionAid Nigeria says there is need for increased budgetary allocations and committed implementation of provisions of annual budgets in the agricultural sector.
Mrs Gift Owonipa, the ActionAid Programme Manager in Kogi state, made the call at the inauguration of the state’s Public Financing of Agriculture Budget Committee on Thursday in Lokoja.
According to Owonipa, from the analysis of the state’s 2018 total budget of N151.677 billion, N9.946 billion representing 6.56 per cent was allocated to agriculture, as against 4.53 per cent in 2017.
“However, the point of concern for us is still the implementation of the 2017 budget which is very low. We are advocating increased spending and wish to see that budgetary allocations always translate into actions and programmes that will improve the lot of farmers,” she said.
Owonipa, who is also the Executive Director of Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID), the ActionAid’s local rights partner in the state, said: “We have therefore, set up the Public Financing of Agriculture Budget Committee. This is with a mandate to advocate for increased spending in the agriculture sector in Kogi State with specific and biased support for small holder farmers especially, women,” she explained.
According to her, agriculture remains the main occupation of the people of the state and forms the main component of their economy with resultant numerous farm produce across the state.
She said the state had failed to meet the 2003 Maputo Declaration providing for allocation of a minimum of 10 per cent of its annual budgets to agriculture.
“The committee will look at which aspect of the budget that will have greater impact on the activities of small scale farmers. It will also provide recommendations to improve the budgetary process in the state. Secondly, the increase in capital allocation from 86.20 per cent in 2017 to 88.68 per cent in 2018 also indicates government’s intention to invest in the capacity and production domain of the agriculture sector,” Owonipa said.