By Noah Ocheni,Lokoja
A_Stakeholders consultative forum on Wednesday in Lokoja stressed the need for massive and unprecedented investment in the agriculture sector for rural infrastructural development, domestic and export
promotion for Nigeria.
This was part of the recommendations contained in a communique issued at a-two-day stakeholders consultative meeting on 2020 Agriculture Budget held in Lokoja.
The communique charged Nigeria to take advantage of the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) by President Muhammed Buhari to ensure proper planning and adequate Agriculture Budgeting to enhance massive food production.
“For 2020 and subsequent years, the communique stressed that agriculture budgeting and other policymaking process be strategies, develop and mainstreaming the concerns of stakeholders farmers adding “stakeholder farmers who produces over 70 percent of domestic food consumed are not involved in agriculture budgeting”.
The communique which was presented by the permanent secretary of Kebi State ministry of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammed Lawal Shehu stressed the need for proper monitoring of implementation of Agricultural projects in the budget by all relevant stakeholders in the country.
The communique, however, attributed the failure of most of the capital projects in the agricultural sector to poor monitoring by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Ministry of budget and National Planning and relevant committees in the National Assembly.
The Forum also called for a political will to allocate at least 10% of annual budget and actually of revenues to the Agricultural sector to increase the realization of the Maputo and Malabo benchmark of agricultural investment.
“Given the time bound nature of farming activities,” the communique further stressed that agricultural budgets should be fast tracked and released on time and fully to enhance the season planning and planting by farmers.
The communique also called for proper funding of the National Centre For Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM) which according to the Forum was established for the purpose of adaptive research leading to design and development of Efficient Agricultural Machines and Technologies in order to reduce drudgery and improve the quality of agricultural production.
The Stakeholders Consultative meeting which was organized by ACTION AID Nigeria, Oxford in Nigeria, One Campaign, CAADP Non-state Actors Coalition, Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources of the ECOWAS Commission also called for the commitment and collaboration for more inclusive and responsive agriculture policy and budget making processes in Nigeria.
Participants came from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Other Agencies within Agriculture Sector, Ministry of Budget and National Planning,Some state Ministries of Budget and Economic Planning, Farmers Organizations, Representatives of Small-scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria, Association of Small-scale Agro Producers in Nigeria and Media respectively.