Stakeholders want for special budget circles for agric sector

ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), ONE Campaign, and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector have called for a separate budget circle for the sector.

The stakeholders made the call as part of recommendations at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ consultative meeting on the 2021 agriculture budget in Lagos,

They stated that buffer funds from sources such as Natural Resource Funds, Climate Resource Funds and the National Agricultural Development Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2019 being proposed by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development should be considered given the strategic importance of the sector. 

In the communique signed by over 60 organisations said given the time bound nature of farming activities, agricultural budgets must be released on time and fully to enable farmers to plant in due season.  

Considering that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the stakeholders pointed out the need for massive and unprecedented investment in the sector for domestic consumption, rural infrastructural development and export promotion for Nigeria to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. 

“The allocation made to CAADP in the 2020 Agriculture Budget should be released 100% to support coordination of the Agriculture Sector and knowledge building on the CAADP/Malabo performance indicators. 

“Strong national leadership and coordination is critical to translating the Malabo Declaration commitments into actionable plans through the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) as it would provide an opportunity to domesticate the Malabo commitments on accountability,” they said

They also urged the governments to adopt the use of CAADP/Malabo indicators at state level and build the capacity of state-level stakeholders on the CAADP/Malabo performance indicators saying the gains made by the sector MDAs should be sustained and improved upon in the 2021 agriculture budget. Just as it added that the GES should be reintroduced, and the budget increased to address the input gaps experienced by smallholder farmers, especially women. 

“For 2021 and subsequent years, agriculture budgeting and other policymaking processes, a strategy for involving and mainstreaming the concerns of smallholder farmers should be developed. For example, leaders of women farmer organizations and other smallholder farmers, vulnerable groups such as farmers living with disabilities, and CSOs should be invited to every stage of the budget. 

“There should be political will to allocate at least 10% of annual budget and actual revenues to the agriculture sector with appropriate budget lines so that Nigeria will be on track in the next Biennial Reporting to the African Union Heads of States and Government in line with the Malabo Declaration and Commitments of 2014.  

“Women and Youths are not homogenous groups; therefore, their budget lines should be separated to ease implementation, monitoring and evaluation,” the participants said

It further called for the scale up of investment in types of public spending that yield better economic outcomes. 

This, according to the communique includes support for smallholder farmers especially Women and Youths in Agriculture, Promotion and Development of Value chains, Agricultural Finance/Credit, Agricultural Insurance, 

Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS), Livelihood (LIFE Programme), Farm Inputs, Extension Services, Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA)/Agroecology, Agricultural Mechanisation (Appropriate Labour Saving Technologies), Research and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as Coordination.

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