Stakeholders in the finance and agricultural sector of the country recently converged to map the best way to uplift the sector through the 2017 appropriation budget.
The event was organized by ActionAid Nigeria, (AAN), in collaboration with Ministry of Budget and National Planning (MBNP).
In a communique issued after the event held at Bafra Hotels, Kaduna, the participants observed that ‘smallholder farmers, especially women and advocacy stakeholders (CSOs), have not been involved sufficiently in the consultations’.
Further, they noted that ‘Despite the low level of capital budget allocation, utilisation has also been poor with many programmes and projects that should have real impact on the sector and guarantee food security were not cash-backed.”
The participants also clamoured for the inclusion of women who constitutes about 70 percent of smallholder farmers in budgeting. Other observations include execution of projects without due consultation with stakeholders, poor research and skeletal funding.
In a bid to surmount these problems, participants at the 2-day event proffered some solutions presented as recommendations.
First, key stakeholders which include; smallholder farmers (especially women), researchers, civil society organisations, policy makers, private sector investors should as a matter of compulsion be involved in the planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring of agricultural policies and programmes.
Secondly, ‘there should be commitment by government to progressively seek to achieve the Malabo Declaration target of at least 10% through progressive increases in budgetary allocation, full and efficient utilisation of the capital budget of the agriculture sector as well as ensuring minimum leakages and wastages in expenditure.’
It was also submitted that the role of the women should be more recognised, a massive injection of funds into the sector, a synergy among all levels of government and a strategic collaboration with NAIP, FMARD and other relevant agencies.