The Smallscale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) has observed that budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector by the FCT has not achieved consistent and significant increment in the last six years.
It National Cordinator, Omaboyowa Roberts while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said they also observed the budgetary allocation for the development of grazing reserves.
She said there is the need for more mutual enduring solution to the current security challenges affecting the livelihood and productivity of crop farmers.
One of the Committee members from the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Ayo Omoyu though applauds the National Assembly for the timely passage of the 2019 Federal Capital Territory statutory budget and the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria timely assent adding that the budgetary allocation for agriculture extension services by the FCT is inadequate considering that farmers are not currently benefitting from extension support services.
He said several projects have continued to feature in the FCT annual Statutory Appropriation Act without information on releases and utilization.
He further said appropriation act have been recurring without any information on the status in terms of level of implementation and the completion date.
He sighted that between 2017-2019 a total sum of N1.325billion has been appropriated for the “development of grazing reserve in FCT” while the total sum of N847,492,782 has been allocated in the same period for “payment of compensation for grazing reserve” without any known completion date or level of implementation.
Another member of the committee from African Centre Leadership Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) Nwahiri Emmanuella also fears that if the current poor public investment in agriculture in FCT continues the national agenda of an agriculture-led developmental approach to the fundamental challenges of poverty, hunger and rising unemployment in the country may not be achieved.
Also, SWOFON farmers Chijioke Peace called 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 the declaration (at least 10 per cent of annual budget allocation to agriculture
She also called on FCT Administration to highlight specific budget line items allocated to the “Women in agriculture” for proper understanding and effective monitoring of projects implementation. “The establishment and building of standard processing units across the 6 area councils with emphasis Rice cottage, Cassava Cottage and oil processing units.
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“The government should provide affordable and accessible small-credit facilities to support smallholder women farmers in the FCT,” she said.