Women farmers decry low budgetary allocation for agriculture in Kogi
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria, (SWOFON) Kogi State chapter, has decried the 6% allocation for agriculture in the 2021 budget approved by the Kogi State Government.
The women farmers noted that if agriculture is to serve as a means of diversifying the economy of Kogi State as promised in the new direction blueprint of Governor Belo, then the 6.58% allocation to the agricultural sector is grossly inadequate.
SWOFON in a statement signed by its state coordinator on Wednesday Hajia Safiya Yahaya lamented that Nigeria is a signatory to the Maputo declaration of 2003 which reiterated the commitment of every nation to provide at least 10% of its annual budget to agriculture.
The statement averred that “In Kogi State year 2021 budget, Agriculture sector yet again got the least allocation compared to other major sectors that drive the social-economic development of the state such as Education, Health; Agriculture received the least at 6.58% compared to 28.89% for Education, 31. 14% for Health”
According to the women farmers, the total state budget recurrent expenditure for 2021 is now higher than the capital expenditure, which was the reverse with the 2020 budget.
The association, in spite of that, observed that “There has been fluctuating budgetary allocation to Kogi State agricultural sector since 2016. There are unclear budget line items as noted above
“Consistent allocation of sums to Women in Agriculture without releases from 2016 till date. The N100,000,000 budgetary allocation to Youth in Agriculture and the subsequent release of N95, 000,000 in 2020 was unclear as there are no clear-cut policies on women and youth in Kogi State. The location, targets, beneficiaries are not stated.
“There is no fund allocation for Climate Resistant seedling to combat climate change in Kogi State. The funds allocated for Research and Development is inexplicably high”.
Hajia Yahaya in the statement made some recommendations to the state government which includes the need to review existing policies and framework on agriculture, increase funding to the sector to meet the 10% Maputo declaration, and the need to improve on funds releases to the sector.
The statement added that there is a need for the State Government to focus resources to achieve greater value for money, enhance legislative oversight of the agric sector, including issues of climate change and improve state budget formulation processes to check for calculation errors to avoid inconsistency, as observed in 2021, approved budget document.
“Small Scale Women Farmer Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) seek improved releases (at least 80% releases) across budget line items in the approved agricultural sector budget in Kogi State and specifically, 100% release of Women in agriculture budget to our members across the 21 local government areas of Kogi State.
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