From: Moshood Adebayo
Chairman, House Committee on Rural Development, Hon. Oladipupo Olatunde Adebutu, has lamented the budget allocation of N76 billion to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Budget, describing it as “too small for the work at hand”.
Adebutu was speaking during the 2017 Joint Budget Defence of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development House Committees on Production Services, Colleges and Institutes and Rural Development.
Adebutu who represents Ikenne, Sagamu and Remo North Federal Constituency in Ogun State, also noted that the 1.7 percentage of the budget allotted to agriculture and rural development was still not good enough in a country where at least half of the population lives in the rural areas.
Said he, “With this sort of figure, lip-service is still being paid to Agriculture because the figures do not correlate with the reality. Agriculture is for food sustenance and security; and properly managed can easily change the high rates of unemployment in our country.
According to him, failure to provide employment usually dashes the hopes of our youth, “as such we therefore need to create an environment of hope for our people”
Specifically, he also expressed dissatisfaction with the funds allotted to rural roads and rural markets . “You have to explore ways to improve
on rural roads and markets as a way of improving on timely movement of agricultural produce.
“We can plant all we want, but if we do not have good roads to move the harvest, then nothing will change. Our people lack the critical ingredients for making farming worth their while. Roads are germane to any hope for us to diversify our economy away from oil to Agriculture.”
Paying tribute to women farmers, Adebutu, who described them as the backbone of agriculture in country added that they should be factored into the budget.
He recalled that the 2016 Budget allotted a similar paltry amount to Agriculture and rural development and as such believes this is a continuation of the hardship of the previous year.
During the session it emerged that Nigeria despite being a signatory to the Maputo Declaration, was yet to allocate 10 per cent of her Budget to Agriculture, as required.
During his presentation, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, outlined the Ministry’s 2017 Budget.