A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has called for an improved budgetary allocation for women farmers in Kwara.The coalition made the call in Ilorin at a press conference organized on the analysis of the 2018 Agriculture Budget of Kwara.
The coalition, through its Budget Committee on Public Financing of Agriculture Project in Kwara, noted that women in agriculture had never received priority attention in the agriculture budget of the state.
Mr. Abdurrahman Ayuba, the Lead Convener and Senior Programme Officer for Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), called for increased opportunities for smallholder women farmers.
He noted that a sum of N1.3 million was budgeted for women in agriculture in the 2018 budget.
Ayuba said that the 2.92 per cent budgetary provision for agriculture in the budget of N181.8 billion also fell far short of the Malabo Declaration, which stipulated a minimum of 10 per-cent provision.
He, however, noted that the 2.92 per cent budgetary allocation was an improvement to the 0.43 per cent allocation in the 2017 budget.
He also said that the committee wants the state government to clarify the difference between Malete Youth Farm and Integrated Youth Farm project, which had regularly featured in the state agriculture budgets for years.
He said that the group recommends easy access to cheap credit for farmers, particularly smallholder women farmers.
Ayuba said that the committee, in the budget analysis, had also faulted the meagre allocation for extension services in the budget, adding that, if the government wanted to make any meaningful impact on the agricultural development of the state, tangible emphasis should be placed on extension services.“We say that budget statement must be clear and explicit, while the location, the beneficiary local governments and communities of the budget line item must be properly stated.
There should be a properly established monitoring and evaluation unit for the purpose of carrying out budget monitoring and evaluation functions.
We recommend that this unit should co-opt CSOs and farmers in the state to be part of any monitoring activity, taking into consideration their strategic roles in food production and other aspects of the agriculture value chain,’’ he said.
Mr. Sulaiman Abdulkareem, the Chief Executive Officer of CCEPE, said that the budget analysis was done to ensure gender balance in the budgetary processes for agriculture in the state.
Other CSOs in the committee include Organization for the Sustainability of Nigerian Environment, Community Needs Care Development Initiative and Fulfilling Dream Foundation, among others.