Civil Society Oranisations (CSOs) have called on federal, states and legislatures at all levels to scale up public investment in agriculture.
They urged them to ensure timely consideration, passage and total budget releases as a strategic approach to increase food production, reduce hunger and poverty in order to achieve the 10 percent Maputo/Malabo budgetary commitment to agriculture.
They stated this at a communique issued after a 2-day Public Financing for Agriculture Budget Committee Advocacy (PFA-BCA) summit organized by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in collaboration with the Budget Committee Group (BCG) of Bauchi, Gombe, Ondo, Delta, Kwara, Ebonyi, Kogi states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It lamented poor allocations to agricultural sector, saying it falls below the Maputo/Malabo declaration benchmark of 10%.
“The forum observed a marginal increase in agricultural budget allocations in some States between 2012 – 2021. However, these allocations still fell below the Maputo/Malabo Declaration benchmark of 10%. ,
“Regrettably, the late passage and releases of fund to the sector continues to impede the capacity of Federal and State governments to drive socio-economic development including food security within the policy thrust of the diversification of the economy towards agriculture.”
“The agricultural policy which is expected to focus and drive development of favourable and sustainable guidelines for the promotion of economic growth is absent in some states,” it said.
The communique also called for involvement of women farmers in the planning and implementation of agricultural budget in the country.
“Public investment in agriculture should be scaled up in the specific areas of Extension Services, Access to Credit, Women in Agriculture, Youth in Agriculture, Appropriate Labour-Saving Technologies, Inputs, Post-Harvest Losses Reduction Supports (processing facilities, storage facilities, trainings, market access, etc.), Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA)/Agroecology, Research and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as Coordination.
“FMARD should create awareness/sensitization of stakeholders on the new agricultural policy as part of effort towards promoting improved citizen participation in budget process.
“The existing relationship between the Federal and State Governments and the Non-States Actors should be strengthened in a bid to promote accountability and transparency in public resource management.
“There is a need to bring more smallholder women farmers to the front of the budget planning discussion at national and state levels. Women need to be brought side by side their male counterpart in the discussion and planning of agricultural budget and its implementation.”