ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) , the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and Non State Actors Coalition (CNC) have faulted the 2024 proposed agriculture budget of N362.9 billion.
The groups made the assertion at a news joint conference to analyse the proposed 2024 agricultural sector’s budget on Saturday in Abuja, while emphasizing that enough support for the agriculture sector needed to be prioritised in the national budget being the sector that had the most potential to change the economy and employ the hordes of young people.
Azubike Nwokoye, Programme Manager, Food and Agriculture, AAN, said that agriculture needed to be prioritised in the national budget being the sector that had most potential to change the economy and employ the hordes of young people.
“The budget allocated to the agriculture sector has not exceeded two per cent of the overall budget for the past seven years.
“Nonetheless, actual data has not demonstrated that a sector’s production in terms of social benefit to the society increases with the amount of resources allocated to it,’’ he said.
Nwokoye said that the real value or purchasing power of the agricultural sector’s budget in 2024 was N285 billion with the set inflation rate of 21.4 per cent.
He noted that though N362.9 billion was budgeted for the sector all things being equal, the budget amount would depreciate by at least N77.7billion.
According to him, the gap of N77.7 billion needs to be filled either by providing additional budgetary resources or reducing inflation to the barest minimum in order to achieve the desired investment impact in monetary terms.
On her part, Mrs Mercy Nnanna, Secretary, SWOFON FCT Chapter, said the conference was to x-ray how the sector was funded and positioned for growth, employment creation, domestic food requirements and export promotion of quality processed agricultural commodities.
“The focus is on budget adequacy and alignment with the CAADP framework; how the budget addresses the concerns of smallholder farmers, women and youths, allocations for agricultural components such as irrigation, climate resilience and sustainable agriculture and value chain development.
“It also focuses on access to credit, extension services, post-harvest loss reduction support, among others,” she said.
All stakeholders present agreed that the total budget of N362.9 billion for the agriculture sector was very low adding that the amount or the figure represented only 1.32per cent of the total Federal Government budget.