Kwara Budget Committee Group (BCG) has urged the state government to among other things promote the enrolment of agricultural insurance policies for smallholder families with the growing insecurity in the country.
The group made the plea in a communique issued after its one-day Public Financing for Agriculture Budget Committee Advocacy (PFA-BCG) Summit held on Saturday in Ilorin.
”This becomes imperative considering the agricultural risks in rising insecurity in farms; farm raiding, cattle destructions, and kidnappings, climate and other natural disasters, farmers are not encouraged to continue farm practices without risk covers.
”We also want the state government and House of Assembly to Scale Up Public Investment in Agriculture, by ensuring timely consideration, passage, and total budget release.
”This will serve as a strategic approach to increase food production, reduce hunger and poverty and achieve the Maputo/Malabo Commitment.
”Public investment in agriculture should be scaled up in the specific areas of Extension Services, Access to Credit, Women in Agriculture, Youth in Agriculture and Appropriate Labour-Saving Technologies.
”Other areas include Inputs, Post-Harvest Losses Reduction Supports (processing facilities, storage facilities, trainings, market access, etc.), Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA)/Agroecology, Research and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as Coordination,” the communique read.
They also recommended that the State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should create awareness/sensitization of stakeholders on the new agricultural policy as part of efforts towards promoting improved citizen participation in budget process.
”The existing relationship between the State Government and Non-States Actors should be strengthened in a bid to promote accountability and transparency in public resource management.
”Also, the yearly State agriculture budget should be more gender responsive by providing line items for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture.
”This will address specific challenges that affect women farmers different from men as well as avoid lumping up budget for women farmers and other groups such as youths.
”In addition, MDAs at the State level are urged to respect the FOI Act and provide access to budget information and we advised that monitoring and implementation of extension Agricultural projects should be strengthened,” the communique read.
The communique was endorsed by Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), FEMCOM Communications, Connected Development (CODE), CCEPE and Meadows Community and Development Outreach (MCDO), Kwara State.
Other bodies that endorsed the communique are Worthy Life Education & Health Foundation, Kwara State (WLEHF), Welfare for Children and Teenagers initiative (WECTIN), Community Agricultural Initiative Programme (CAIP), Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), Mr Abdulrahman Ayuba while declaring the summit open said BCG activities has always revolved around the strengthening of government investment in the agriculture sector and enhancing result oriented implementation of its programs.
Ayuba said the purpose of the meeting was to reflect on ourselves as a group intervention over the years, look deeply at our challenges, identify the opportunities and jointly look for more strategic ways to engage to achieve better results.