Poor bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion causes set­back in agric sec­tor

Daily Trust - - AGRICULTURE -

Agri­cul­ture used to be one of the main­stays of Nigeria’s econ­omy. The dis­cov­ery of oil, how­ever, led to a de­cline in the im­por­tance hitherto at­tached to agri­cul­ture by all the three tiers of govern­ment. All at­ten­tion shifted to oil!

States with huge po­ten­tials in agri­cul­ture ne­glected the sec­tor for their share of oil rev­enue. Small farm­ers, mostly at the ru­ral ar­eas, were promised in­puts only dur­ing elec­tions to get their votes.

Budgetory al­lo­ca­tions to agri­cul­ture at the na­tional and state lev­els show that the sec­tor is not given any pri­or­ity.

Even some states gov­ern­ments, whose cit­i­zens are 99% farm­ers, do not give at­ten­tion to agri­cul­ture.

The federal govern­ment, for in­stance, has a budget of over N4.6 tril­lion for 2014. Out of that, agri­cul­ture got N66.6 bil­lion, rep­re­sent­ing 1.4 per­cent of the to­tal budget.

In 2003, at Ma­puto, the Mozam­bi­can cap­i­tal, African lead­ers com­mit­ted them­selves to im­ple­ment­ing, as mat­ter of ur­gency, a com­pre­hen­sive Africa agri­cul­tural pro­gramme, which was con­tained in a dec­la­ra­tion on agri­cul­ture and food se­cu­rity (As­sem­bly/AU/ Decl. 7(II))

“To this end, we agree to adopt sound poli­cies for agri­cul­tural and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment and com­mit our­selves to al­lo­cat­ing at least 10% of our na­tional bud­getary re­sources for their im­ple­men­ta­tion within five years within,” the dec­la­ra­tion read in part.

Tude Arosanyin, the na­tional fi­nan­cial sec­re­tary, All Framers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nigeria, lamented that Nigeria who was a sig­na­tory to the Ma­puto Dec­la­ra­tion on agri­cul­ture has failed to com­ply with the agree­ment.

Dr. Abba Ab­dul­lah, the pres­i­dent of the Nige­rian Fish­eries So­ci­ety, said the 2014 budget fell way be­low the Mop­uto Dec­la­ra­tion.

“By this Nigeria doesn’t seem to agree with this dec­la­ra­tion, of which it is a sig­na­tory and, there­fore, we will not at­tain the de­sired agri­cul­ture sec­tor de­vel­op­ment that will re­place oil’s role in our econ­omy,” he said.

A ma­jor farmer in Sokoto, Al­haji Musa Takakume, said un­less the federal govern­ment and all other states im­prove their bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion to agri­cul­ture, Nigeria may not be able to guar­anty food se­cu­rity.

He said: “There must be enough bud­getary pro­vi­sion at all lev­els be­fore the govern­ment can be able to mech­a­nise agri­cul­ture and sub­sidise the en­tire value chain. Un­til that is done, we can­not be able to move agri­cul­ture for­ward.”

A check re­vealed that most states al­lo­ca­tions to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor for the 2014 fis­cal year, in­clud­ing staff salary and run­ning cost of the min­istry, ranged from 0.1 per­cent to 4.83 per­cent.

The two agrar­ian states of Taraba and Gombe, for ex­am­ple, al­lo­cated 0.1 and 1.55 per­cent of their bud­gets to agri­cul­ture re­spec­tively. Very few states al­lo­cated up to 4.5 per­cent.

If the federal govern­ment, which says agri­cul­ture forms a key part part of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s trans­for­ma­tion agenda, al­lo­cated only 1.43 per cent of its budget to the sec­tor.

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