A group of NGOs under the aegis of Bauchi State Public Financing in Agriculture Budget Committee has urged the state government to increase its allocation to agriculture due to the effects of COVID-19 to boost farming.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NGOs are: Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI), with the support Actionaid Nigeria.
Others are: Rahma Women Development Programme (RAHMA), Media, Women Empowerment Initiative Nigeria (WEIN), Bauchi State Network of Civil Society and Association of Small scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN).
Atiku said the N8.9 billion budgeted for agriculture by the state government, out of the total budget of N167 billion for 2020 was below the 10 per cent recommended by the Malabo Declaration of 2014.
She noted that the allocation for the agricultural sector was just 5.34 per cent, which was far less than the Malabo Declaration of 2014.
“We noticed the downward review of funding of inputs to farmers in the state and we are pleading with the government to reconsider it to assist more farmers in this farming season.
“We are also appealing to the government to make provisions for credit and loan schemes to assist farmers, if we must avert the looming food crisis occasioned by COVID-19,” she said.
Atiku solicited prompt release of the funds and involvement of smallholder women farmers and other key stakeholders in the budgeting process.
She urged the government to establish a local produce buying and transportation network for smallholder farmers to ensure food supply and income generation.
According to her, the partial lockdown has made it difficult for farmers to access markets to sell their produce,” she said.