BY KEHINDE EMMANUEL, ILORIN
Kwara state government has been asked to make specific budgetary provision for small holder women farmers in subsequent budgets in the state.
Presenting findings and recommendations of the budget committee of the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) project in Ilorin on the state’s 2021 agriculture budget analysis in Ilorin on Tuesday, the state coordinator PFA project, Abdurrahman Ayuba, said that there was no provision for women farmers in the 2021 budget, “even though they produce 75 per cent of the food consumed”.
Abdurrahman, who described women farmers as key stakeholders in the agric sector that should be provided with specific budget line items, said that a budget line for credit should also be provided in the budget to support smallholder farmers, especially women.
“This budget line could be for provision of training and support to access existing CBN credit facilities”, he said, adding that women farmers and youth should be granted access to interest free credit facilities.
Abdurrahman, who also said that the 3.09 per cent budgeted for agriculture in the 2021 is far below the international benchmark, urged the government to increase its agriculture budget to meet the 10 per cent Maputo/Malabo declaration and commitment.
Other recommendations include:
“Youth in agriculture: we recommend that the government should outline various programs targeted at youth empowerment/employment through Agriculture and make clear budgetary allocation
“Farm input: just like in previous years, the government made provision for inorganic fertilzer which contributed to global warming. We advocate that government should make provision for organic fertilizer which will not only reduce the effect of global warming, but also ensure production of quality agricultural produce.
“Extension services: extension services are key to the development of agricultural sector of the state. We, therefore, urge the government to improve on the allocation to extension services for expected development.
“The research and development components of the budget particularly for the local government should be clearly spelt out for effective monitoring and evaluation.
“All agricultural related activities should be domiciled in the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development budget to ensure transparency”.
The PFA project team, which reiterated its commitment in partnering with the state government to achieving its agriculture objectives, commended the government for allocating a budget line for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and recommended that the M&E budget should be sustained and improved upon in subsequent years.