From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
The Association of Small-Scale Agro Producers In Nigeria (ASSAPIN) and stakeholders have lamented inadequate budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector by the federal and states governments in Nigeria.
This was observed at a one day stakeholders meeting yesterday organised by ASSAPIN with support from OXFAM to analyse the 2017 budget to the agricultural sector by the Bauchi State government.
The ASSAPIN national president, Hajiya Amina Bala Jibrin said that the main challenges facing the sector are inadequate budgetary allocation, non release of budgeted funds and lack of consulting stakeholders by government in the agricultural sector budget process.
She said that the amount being allocated to agricultural sector by government at all levels is meagre and fell short of what is required to fully revitilise the sector to play its role in the nation’s economy.
Jibrin also decried the deliberate delay in the release of allocated funds to the sector which she said is affecting the proper implementation of policies adding that stakeholders in the sector are not also being considered in budget process by the government.
On his part, an OXFAM official John Ajigo said that various considerations must be made for agricultural policies to be effectively implemented in Bauchi State and Nigeria in general.
He said that agricultural policies must be made taking into consideration the challenge of climate change and its effect on agricultural practices and its relations to other sectors.
He informed that OXFAM is currently with other stakeholders and partners implementing the LINE project in the state which is aimed at improving the livelihoods of rural farming households.
In his keynote address, the Programme Manager, Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), Iliyasu Aliyu Gital said that the aim of the programme was to ensure an effective observation and validation by stakeholders in order to provide proper suggestions and provide a focus.
He added that it will also provide a platform for all stakeholders to share experience and push for more allocation to agricultural sector in budgets.
On his part, Mr Ayuba Ishaya, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture said that the ministry has done alot in providing and implementing various policies aimed at revitalising the sector.
He added that it has also been providing assistance and guidance for farmers as well as interventions at various levels which has impacted positively in the sector in recent years.