2022 Gombe Budget: Stakeholders decry low allocation to agric sector
Stakeholders in the agriculture sector has decried the low budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector in the 2022 Gombe state budget proposal.
The stakeholders include the Gombe state Budget Committee, the Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Gombe state chapter and Hope Foundation for the Lonely (HFL) with support from ActionAid Nigeria.
They expressed their displeasure in Gombe on Thursday in a press conference on the findings of the analysis of the 2022 budget proposal for the state.q
Presenting the analysis, Mr Yahaya Atiku, the acting State chairman, Public Financing for Agriculture, Budget Committee, said
with the low allocation to the sector, there may be a food crisis in the state.
Atiku stated that the state government’s allocation to agriculture in 2022 fell below three per cent and less than the agreed 10 per cent benchmark of 2014 Malabo declarations which Nigeria is a signatory to.
According to him, the extant declarations recommend a minimum of 10 per cent of total public budgets to the sector to enhance food production and wealth creation, as well as reduce escalating malnutrition in Africa.
He stated that the group’s concern was as a result of the current situation of looming food crisis in the state and in Nigeria due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic that has nearly crippled all sectors of the economy.
“If agriculture sector engages over 70 per cent of the people of Gombe state, why should the sector not get up to 10 per cent of the state’s budget,” the group questioned.
The group stated that allocating more to the sector would translate into improved food security, create jobs for the youths and wealth for the people of the state especially women farmers and other vulnerable groups.
The group further stressed that the decrease in budgetary allocation from 3.3 per cent in 2021 to less the 2.5 per cent in the proposed 2022 budget was a setback to effort at achieving food sufficiency.
It added that such would not help in effort towards reducing poverty and ending hunger by 2025.
The group, therefore, recommended that more investments be made in the sector to help meet the food needs of the state and country while creating jobs.
Atiku stated that the group also urged the state government to harness the irrigation farming potentials of the Dadin-Kowa Dam to ensure all-year-round agricultural activities in the state.
The group commended the Gombe state government for the N40 million budget line proposed to support smallholders women farmers in the state in the 2022 budget.
“We want to commend the Gombe State Government for the involvement of SWOFON and other CSOs in the preparation of the State’s 2022 budget.