The Association of Small-Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN) and other stakeholders have lamented the low budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector by both the federal and states governments in Nigeria.
This observation was made at a one day stakeholders meeting organised by ASSAPIN with support from OXFAM Nigeria to analyse the 2017 budget vis-à-vis the agricultural sector by the Bauchi State government Tuesday at the BSADP MTRM Hall, Bauchi.
Speaking, the ASSAPIN National President, Hajiya Amina Bala Jibrin, said that the main challenges facing the sector are inadequate budgetary allocation, non-release of budgetted funds and lack of consulting stakeholders by government in the agricultural sector budget process.
According to her, the amount allocated to the agricultural sector by government at all levels is meagre and falls short of what is required to fully revitalise the sector to play its role in the nation’s economy.
She also decried the deliberate delay in the release of allocated funds to the sector which she said is affecting the proper implementation of policies, adding that stakeholders in the sector are not also being considered in budget process by the government.
On his part, the representative of OXFAM, John Ajigo, at the Farmers Validation and Capacity Building Exercise on the 2017 Agric Budget Analysis in Bauchi State said that various considerations must be made for agricultural policies to be effectively implemented in Bauchi State and Nigeria in general.
Ajigo said that agricultural policies must be made taking into consideration the challenge of climate change and its effect on agricultural practices and relations to other sectors.
He said OXFAM is currently with other stakeholders and partners implementing the LINE project in the state which is aimed at improving the livelihoods of rural farming households.
In his keynote address, the Programme Manager, Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), Dr. Iliyasu Aliyu Gital, said that the aim of the programme was to ensure an effective observation and validation by stakeholders in order to provide proper suggestions and provide a focus.
He added that it will also provide a platform for all stakeholders to share experience and push for more allocation to agricultural sector in budgets.
On his part, Mr Ayuba Ishaya, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture, said that the ministry has done a lot in providing and implementing various policies aimed at revitalising the sector.
He added that it has also been providing assistance and guidance for farmers as well as interventions at various levels which has impacted positively in the sector in recent years.
He commended ASSAPIN for its concern in the development of agriculture as well as its attempt to improve the commitment of government towards the sector in budgets.