FCT women, under the auspices of Smallscale Women Farmers’ Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) havr called on the National Assembly and the FCT administration to increase appropriation to extension services and deploy more extension workers to support smallholder women farmers.
The women made the call on Thursday in Abuja after the meeting of its agriculture budget committee, saying budgetary allocation for agriculture extension services by the FCT is inadequate considering that farmers were not currently benefitting from extension support services.
SWOFON, in a statement noted that budgetary allocation to the sector by the FCT administration was not only inconsistent, there has been no significant increase in the last six years.
The association therefore call for increased annual budgetary allocation that will address the concerns of smallholder women farmers in line with 2003 Maputo declaration which Nigeria is signatory to. They urged the FCTA to highlight specific budget line items allocated to the “Women in agriculture” for proper understanding and effective monitoring of projects implementation.
According to SWOFON, the FCT administration should allocate budget lines for climate resilience and sustainable agriculture adding that extension services in FCT must be given priority attention in order to improve the deployment of new technologies to farmers and increase food production.
The association further called for increased allocation of agricultural inputs to smallholder women farmers to increase farmer’s productivity, establishment and building of standard processing units across the 6 area councils with emphasis on Rice cottage, Cassava Cottage and oil processing units.
It said allocation of budget line item to Training of smallholder women farmers on livestock farming, such as piggery, goat rearing, rabbit rearing, etc. adding that allocation for extension services/agent within the area councils must be given priority in the budget in order to support farm practices and value chain development of commodities.
“An FCT Farmers toll free line be put in place to address the challenges of farming practices and queries on the field. The government should provide affordable and accessible small-credit facilities to support smallholder women farmers in the FCT.
“To prevent the devaluation of nominal appropriation we charge the FCT Administration on early submission of statutory budget to the national assembly and call on the National Assembly to expedite actions on the timely passage of the budget proposals,” the association requested.