Stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Bauchi state have denounced the level of insecurity in the country, especially on farms, which they say is responsible for people abandoning their farms.
This is contained in a statement issued at the end of a one-day stakeholder consultative meeting on the 2022 agricultural budget held at the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Program Office (BSADP).
The consultative meeting was organized by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN); Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI); Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Ministry of Budget and Planning, Bauchi State House of Assembly Agriculture Committee, and Small Farm Women Organization Nigeria (SWOFON).
According to stakeholders, without addressing agricultural security issues, security issues in states cannot be resolved, arguing that with increasing hunger and social insecurity, state peace would continue to be threatened. .
The OSC said securing farms and funding agricultural mechanization would not only create more food, but also jobs to hire restless young people who turned to crime for a living.
While stating that women small-scale farmers contribute more than 70% of agricultural production, the statement laments that they have been continually left out in the discussion, planning and implementation of the agricultural budget.
He added that the agricultural sector budget still faces late budget releases and policy inconsistencies, adding that budget allocations largely affect the practice of smallholder agriculture.
“Although the use of investment projects in the agricultural sector in 2021 appears to have improved, it can hardly be said that these allocations have largely affected the practices of small farmers who have faced both COVID-19, pastoralist / farmer clashes, natural disasters, and ultimately budget releases and evictions by political farmers and entrepreneurs who are the first to deal with the budget.
“Access to credit and financial services (through government and non-government channels) for smallholder farmers, especially women, is very low in Bauchi State.
“The criteria for accessing formal financial credit systems and programs cannot be understood or met by more than 70% of smallholder women farmers,” the statement said.
He attributed this “to a high level of bureaucracy; complexity of application processes, failure of the state and LG to provide support to farmers, low level of literacy of most women and failure of credit managers to adopt credit models that take into account the realities of farmers. farmers and take advantage of the savings cooperatives to which these women already belong ”.
The stakeholder meeting further noted that there are huge investments in the purchase of heavy and expensive machinery which is not always adapted to the needs of the users and unsuited to the topography and size of the land cultivated by small farmers, especially women.
According to the statement, “these technologies are also difficult to maintain and are usually abandoned when defects develop, resulting in waste.”
The meeting then recommended that the state government devote 10% of its annual budget to the agricultural sector to meet the Maputo / Malabo Declaration of 10% required to support a growth rate of at least 6% for the sector, as postulated by the CAADP framework.
He added that there should be a political will to allocate at least 10% of annual budgets and real income to the agricultural sector with appropriate budget lines.