By Ahmed Ahmed
Women farmers in Bauchi state have called on the state government to allocate 10 percent to the Agricultural sector in the 2024 budget, to meet up with the Malabo declaration.
They made the call at a one-day Stakeholders consultative meeting on 2024 Bauchi State Agricultural budget on Friday in Bauchi.
The Stakeholders observed a decrease of 0.4 percent equivalent to N19,747,560, 714.39 in the 2023 Agricultural budget.
According to them the sector is experiencing fluctuation in allocation for the past 7 years, which has made the attainment of the 10 percent Malabo declaration for agriculture unrealizable.
The Chairperson Bauchi Budget Committee Group, Mrs Tabawa Atiku and the State Chairperson Small Scale Women Farmers Organization of Nigeria, Marka Abbas at the end of the meeting said that the budget committee group on agriculture are working to eradicate poverty.
Explained that, as well as promote social justice and gender equality and budgetary process, deemed fit to draw the attention of the state government to the paltry allocations to the agricultural sector and poor participation of Smallholder women farmers in the budgetary process.
The meeting was organized by the Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative in collaboration with the Small Scale Women Farmers Organization of Nigeria(SWOFON), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with support from Action-Aid Nigeria.
They regretted that poor funding, delayed or non-release of funds meant for the sector by the government that has impeded growth in the sector over the years,
Pointing out that the sum of N5.4 billion was allocated to the agricultural sector for the year 2023 out of the total sum of N202.6 billion budget allocation for the state.
The gap has made it difficult to achieve the 10 percent Malabo declaration and the SDG goals 1, 2 and 3 unachievable at the state level.
The stakeholders observed that the 2023 agricultural budget did not capture any allocation in respect to extension services which in turn will weaken the extension service department of the ministry.
They added that the budget line for the value chain decreased from N50 million in the year 2022 to N20 million for the year 2023.
The Stakeholders recommended that the extension services of the government should be strengthened by recruiting new extension agents, building their capacities and providing them with incentives.
They noted that Smallholder Women Farmers who are known for the production of over 60 percent of food consumed in the state are facing a series of hard times caused by natural disasters such as flooding, cashless policy.
Hike in fuel that cut across the entire nation, leading to high cost of market prices of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, saving technologies, seedlings, has hampered the productivity of women farmers in the state.
Hotpen reports that, stakeholders at the meeting were drawn from the relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Farmer Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, House Committee on Agriculture and Appropriation of the State House of Assembly and the Media.
The legislature also assured that the house of assembly would do the needful during the 2024 budget proposal.
They however commended the state government and other stakeholders for their unrelenting efforts towards deploying funding strategies to unlock the growth in the agricultural products of the state based on comparative advantage.