• Urges State Government to Increase Funding for Agric Sector

From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe

The Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) has called on the Gombe state government to prioritise investment in climate-resilient sustainable agriculture projects. The organisation emphasised the importance of sustainable farming practices in light of the increasing challenges brought about by climate change.

In addition to advocating for climate-resilient agriculture, SWOFON also urged the government to allocate increased funding to the agriculture sector to meet the 10 per cent commitment set forth in the Maputo declaration. According to the group, by investing in agriculture, the state government can not only boost food security but also empower small-scale women farmers who play a crucial role in the agricultural sector.

This was disclosed by the Gombe state coordinator of the organisation, Airudia Mamman, during an annual press conference of the organisation on Monday in Gombe. The coordinator explained that the event was organised by the organisation in collaboration with the state Budget Committee Group (BCG) to unveil the group’s findings from the ‘Gombe State 2024 Agriculture Budget Analysis Observations and Recommendations’.

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The group revealed that during the budget analysis, it was observed that the 2024 budgetary allocation for the state’s agriculture sector was 4.0 per cent of the total budget; “based on this, the budgetary allocation to the sector has been on the radial of fluctuation from 2020 till date. Although the 2024 budget has seen an increase in the percentage allocation which is a commendable feat by the government, the allocation of only 4 per cent to agriculture of the State’s overall budget is a far cry from the 10 per cent benchmark of the Maputo declaration,” the group stated.

“Women and Youths form most of the target population involved in farming, especially at the community levels. It becomes imperative that provisions for interventions be made to specifically address their needs. Previous budgets have made appreciable allocations for this however; the 2024 budget has seen a reduction in this allocation. We observed with appreciation the budget line for youth in agriculture approved for the sum of N20 million although there hasn’t been any release in the previous years. We are calling on the Government to release these funds in order to engage the youth in the State”.

Speaking further, the coordinator assured that SWOFON is committed to working with the government and other stakeholders to promote sustainable farming practices and ensure food security for the betterment of the state and the country in general. However, she added that the goal can only be achieved if the state government considers the timely release of budgeted funds for agriculture projects and the state House of Assembly enhances its oversight functions to pressure for an improvement in the sector.

She said, “Small-scale women farmers play a crucial role in ensuring food security and economic development in Gombe State and Nigeria as a whole. We commend the allocations of N50 million in the 2024 budget to support the smallholder women farmers in the state. We also recommend prompt releases and an increase in future funding.”

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