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Kogi: BCG ,SWOFON harps on review of Agriculture policies, provision of budgetary fund for food security

  Small -Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON), kogi state chapter, in partnership with the State Budget Committee Group (BCG) called for the review…

 

Small -Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON), kogi state chapter, in partnership with the State Budget Committee Group (BCG) called for the review of existing agriculture policies to enhance food security in the state.

The SWOFON -BCG group, with support from ActionAid Nigeria (AAN).disclosed this in Lokoja on Thursday at the budget conference with the theme , “Kogi State 2024 Approved Agriculture Budget”, and its effect on this year’s farming activities.

The Chairman of the state Budget Committee Group (BCG),Comrade Matthias Okpanach said the call for the review of agriculture policies become imperative because of the persisting failure of government policies to address critical issues in the Agriculture budget formulation and implementation.

He said the state should strive to address issues of inputs, post-harvest loses, credit facilities to Smallholder Farmers and extension services, including late release of agriculture budgetary fund to avoid incident of food insecurity.

“While we commend the allocation of huge sum once again in the 2024 budget, the allocations might make no difference, if funds are not released”, he said

The state Budget Committee Group Boss observed that the 2024 Agriculture budget for Kogi State is 3.37% of the total State Budget, which is still a far cry from the 10% benchmark of the Maputo Declaration.

Okpanachi said: “This is the third lowest percentage allocation to agricultural sector in Kogi state since 2016 and goes to show the non-commitment of the state to the development of the agriculture sector.

“Based on a 2.3% growth rate of the 2006 population census, Kogi population 2024 projected population is 4,666,200. With an estimated allocation of N8,691,408,908 to the agriculture sector, the per capita investment will amount to N1,862.63.”

“This is a 13% drop in per capital spending in the agriculture sector over the 2023 figures. Again, it points to poor appreciation of the importance of the sector in the State development and poverty reduction.”.

However, he called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to create a forum for consultation before ,during and implemention of agriculture budget for all the interest groups and stakeholders to push in their views that will boost agriculture activities in the state.

In the same vein, the state SWOFON said late release of budgetary fund to the agriculture sector have impeded the agriculture activities of the group.

SWOFON said budgetary provisions should be released to the group at the preparatory stage of farming season in March ,rather than waiting for around June in order to achieve a desired impact.

The state Coordinator of SWOFON, Hajia Rukayat Larai Ahmed, however, commended Kogi State Government for providing assistance for post harvest loses reduction intervention in the 2024 budget, stressing , the fund should be released to that effect on time to that effect.

She said : “This is important as Kogi suffers from huge annual post-harvest losses with a share of N94.5billion out of the national estimated losses of N3.5 trillion annually.

She added that , “Smallholder women farmers in Kogi State have access to only 19.90 per cent processing facilities and 19.45 per cent storage facilities; this is a big gap and needs to be filled urgently with massive investment in cottage processing and storage facilities”.

 

 

 

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