Poor budgetary allocation causes setback in agric sector
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.