By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – Stakeholders at a one-day Consultative Meeting on Public Financing of Agriculture have called on Kogi government to ensure its annual budget for the Agriculture sector met Maputo Declaration benchmark of 10 per cent minimum.
The stakeholders made the call in a communique issued at the end of the meeting, organised by the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) Committee of ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) on Wednesday in Lokoja.
The communique was signed by Mathias Okpanachi, chairman of PFA; Hajiya Safiya Yahaya, State Coordinator, SWOFON and Halima Sadiq, Executive Director, PIBCID.
They observed that budgetary allocation to the Agriculture sector had not met the Maputo Declaration benchmark since its ratification and adoption by Nigeria in 2003.
“There is need for budget developers to ensure that Kogi State Public Sector Agriculture Budget meets the Maputo Declaration benchmark of 10 per cent minimum
“There is also need for the Ministry of Agriculture to adopt innovative revenue generation strategies and block resource leakages in its bureaucratic processes, and as well, improve capacity and attitudes of public service workers on quality service delivery”, they suggested.
The stakeholders insisted that there must be an agreed participatory public sector policy on agriculture value chain development, while emphasising the need for government to off-take Agriculture produce from farmers.
They also urged increased partnership and collaboration between government and citizens on improving public sector funding for Agriculture, just as they advocated increased transparency and accountability in the sector to engender confidence.
They noted that the top-bottom approach to Public Sector Agriculture budget development was still a major challenge in ensuring participatory development in the sector.
The meeting was attended by representatives of Civil Society, Media, Kogi House of Assembly, Smallholder Women Farmers, Agriculture Financial Institutions, the state Agriculture Development Project (ADP) and Ministry of Agriculture representatives.