Farmers pick holes in 2021 proposed agric budget
Farmers, under the aegis of Small Scale Women Farmers Association in Nigeria (SWOFON), have said that the N179.4b budget for 2021 has failed to make specific provisions in line with the National Gender Policy despite the fact that 80 per cent of Agriculture production is done by women.
The association’s National President, Mary Afan, stated this at a media briefing on the review of the 2021 budget for agriculture organised by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and SWOFON in Abuja.
Afan said while the budget is filled with big sums allocated for other projects without specific details and clarity leaving room for easy mismanagement, only 2.8 per cent of the overall capital vote of the ministry is targeted at women farmers.
“The total sum targeting women farmers in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s proposal is N2.4b, which is just 2.18 per cent of the overall capital vote for the ministry. This is paltry and needs to be increased considering that women constitute half of the national population and have numerical superiority in agriculture,” she said.
While calling for an increased budget allocation to the sector in line with the Maputo declaration of 10 per cent national budget for agriculture, Afan said the budget did not capture specific programmes targeted at women farmers such as the provision of gender friendly machineries for increases productivity subsidised rate, allocation of improved farm inputs and access to grants, among others.
“Our charter of demands as small scale women farmers include capacity training on best agric practices, engagement of women farmers in decisions policy making processes at all levels of government, timely release of budget for Agric activities, addressing issue of farmers and herders clashes and the mainstreaming gender in agriculture, among others,” she added.
Programme Officer, Public Finance Management, Centre for Social Justice, Fidelis Onyejegbu, said the 2021 agriculture budget is filled with frivolous, inappropriate and unclear estimates that are wasteful. He said the total sum of 7, 587, 497, 225 could be save if some of the unclear and specific estimates in the 2021 agriculture budget are done away with.