Experts link distraction from agriculture to poverty
Experts have linked poverty to derailment from the 2003 Maputo declaration on agriculture and food security, where it was unanimously agreed to allocate 10 per cent of annual budgets to the sector across African countries.
During its yearly review of budgetary allocation for agriculture, ActionAid and Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, through a committee on public financing agriculture, lamented a sharp shortfall in allocation to agriculture, while warning that continuous low funding would only foster poverty.
Chairman of the committee, Mrs. Tabawa Atiku, who cited Bauchi State as a reference in her statistics, said it has not been committed to the 10 per cent in the last five years.
According to the data: “The allocation to the sector in 2014 was 4.32 per cent, 2015 was 3.98 per cent, which was increased to 7.05 per cent in 2016. It later suffered setback of 4.65 per cent in 2017. In 2018, it was increased to its highest point of 7.1 per cent and 2019 allocation dropped to 6 per cent.”
ActionAid suggested that a purchase of 15,000 metric tons of assorted fertilizer at the cost of N1b would cover up for the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS), an initiative meant to improve chances of farmers access to fertilizer at affordable rates.
Atiku noted: “13 African countries have fulfilled and surpassed the 10 per cent target. Burundi, Burkina Faso, DR Congo. Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe are no longer struggling to beat the target.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria with over 180million population, of which 70 per cent are reported to be farmers continues to lag behind despite record showing that the nation’s agriculture sector contributes 40 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy.”She said that N7, 035,575,449 allocated by Bauchi State in this year’s budget does not reflect growth for women and youths.
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