Thursday, February 25, 2021 8:44 am
Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
The Kogi chapter of Small Scale Women farmers Organization in Nigeria, SWOFON, has decried the six percent budgetary allocation for agriculture in the 2021 budget approved by Governor Yahaya Bello
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 the Government, then the paltry 6.58% allocation to the sector is grossly inadequate.
SWOFON in a statement signed by its state coordinator on Wednesday Hajia Sefiya Yahaya, lamented that Nigeria is a signatory to the Maputo declaration of 2003 which reiterated the need of every member nation to provide not less than 10% of its annual budget for agriculture.
“In Kogi State year 202l 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 . l4% 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 case with the 2020 budget.
The association however observed that, “There has been fluctuating budgetary allocation to Kogi state agricultural sector budget since 2016 till date. There are unclear budget line items as noted above
“Consistent allocation of sums to Women in Agriculture without releases since 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 is no clear~ cut policies on women and youth in Kogi State. The location, targets, beneficiaries are not stated.
“There are no funds 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 frame work on agriculture, increase funding to the sector to meet the 10% Maputo declaration, and the need to improve on the funds releases to the sector.
The statement added that there is need for the State Government to focus resources to achieve greater value for money, enhance legislative oversight of the agric sector, include 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.
“While we appreciate the state government for her inclusive budgetary processes through Kogi State ministry of finance, budget and economic planning, we seek further improvement and inclusion in budget implementation and monitoring processes” the statement added.
SWOFON is in partnership with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development, (PIBCID) with support from Actionaid Nigeria.