Technocrat Media, Akure
The Ondo State Budget Committee, a coalition of civil society organisations has asked governor Rotimi Akeredolu to increase funding for the agricultural sector in the State.
The group works for the development and sustainability of the agricultural sector.
A press release tagged “Press Release on Agricultural Finance in Ondo State” signed by its chairman, Komolafe Pius said budgetary allocation for financing agricultural development has consistently fallen below the required standard allocation of 10% of the total budget.
“The 44th National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) approved that government at the federal and state level should commit 10% of their annual budget to the agriculture sector to meet the 10% Maputo/Malabo declaration required to support at least 6% growth rate for the sector. This allocation was agreed by all heads of states in Africa as a means of ending poverty in Africa (2003 Maputo declaration and 2014 Malabo declaration),” the group said.
“Targets set by this declaration are commitment to Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) process, investment in agriculture, ending hunger, eradicating poverty through agriculture, Intra African Trade in Agriculture Commodities and services, resilience to climate variability and mutual accountability for actions and results. These commitments by leaders at different levels of governance have been met with lip service.”
The organisation added that Nigeria is one of the countries that have progressed to meet these set targets.
According to JDPC, in Ondo state, budgetary allocation for financing agricultural development has consistently fallen below the required standard allocation of 10% of the total budget.
In 2022 budget, “the total state budget is
N199,282,437,000.00 and agriculture budget is N11,583,218,001.84, representing 5% of the state budget,” said JDPC.
“Average allocation to the agriculture sector as a percentage of the budget from 2014 till date is 4.22%. Furthermore, the financial gap in allocation from 2014 to date is
N 84,386,991,192.35. This clearly shows why agricultural development in the state is retarded.”
The group said its findings showed that priority is given to capital expenditure in the agricultural sector.
“In 2020, 2021 and 2022, 86.38%, 82%, and 87% were percentage amount of capital expenditure respectively for the agriculture sector. But it is to utmost dismay that from 2014 till 2019 from information provided in the budget, on capital release, only 2.31% of money allocated was released for capital expenditure.”
“In 2019, a budget line item agro women initiative budget was
N60,000,000 but only N5,915,000 was released, for agricultural research, N16,925,000 was approved for expenditure, N6,710,000 was the actual expenditure, in the same year (2019), agricultural service project had a budget of N 209,450,000 but the actual expenditure was N 47,085,000.”
“However, there were some significant releases, some of which are, ‘Igba Otun’ broilers grower’s production scheme, the budget was N 200,000,000 actual amount release was N 150,387,629.24 another was the purchase of tractors,
N 60,000,000 was the budget and N 60,000,000 was actually spent.”
The organisation added that a significant amount was not released for agriculture development activities.
They noted that the agriculture sector is strategic in the development of any economy to a tertiary level of production; if this economic maxim is established, we insist on a minimum allocation of 10% of the state budget for agricultural activities.
JDPC said: “Over the years, we have suggested that location for all projects should be spelt out in the budget for tracking progress and social audit. But this has not been attended to.”
It added that they discovered seven projects in the 2022 budget worth
N7,930,000 without locations and proper identification.
“We observe an increase in percentage allocation for agriculture sector for 2022 from 4.82% to 5.81%. In the same vein, capital budget allocation for the agriculture sector increased to 87% in 2022 from 82% in 2021. We commend this change and request for more allocation and prompt release of funds.”
“We commend the government of Ondo state for sustaining finance for the LIFE project and Ondo state Covid-19 Action Response and Economic Stimulus with a budget of N1,215,366,000.00 which smallholder farmers are beneficiaries.”
“In 2021 fiscal year, buyback of surplus agricultural produce was not budgeted for, which we identified and advocated allocation is done in 2022. It gladdens us that this line item has a budget of 3,000,000 which is quite small to buy back excess produce. More to this is the complete release of funds for this activity and an increased allocation in the coming year (2023), for a broader reach.”
“We commend plans to procure post-harvest equipment; however, information on the number of equipment to be purchased is unknown.”
“It is evident that average temperature has increased, on this premise we call on the government of Ondo State to invest more in climate resilience sustainable agriculture. This will minimize the effect of reduced volume and erratic rainfall patterns on farming activities. The climate office under the ministry of agriculture is left in limbo because of zero release of funds.
“We urge MDAs to always specify locations of various programmes/projects, this gives more credence to the budget line item. In the same vein, the actual amount spent for each fiscal year should be included in the New Year’s budget.
“Release of funds for the project is ridiculous compared to budget amount. The average release of capital budget from 2014 to 2019 is just 2.31% of the capital budget. Government should ensure the timely and total release of the capital budget for the economic growth of the State
“Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture should create a yearly Strengthening Access to Credit budget line: This funding should focus on: Criteria, requirements, and documentation for credit are too cumbersome so the majority of smallholder farmers are not having access to credit in Nigeria: Develop an enabling environment and a policy framework that will enable smallholder farmers especially women, youths and farmers living with a disability easy access to credit on the single-digit interest rate.
“A specialized team or consultancy firm should be gotten through this budget line and they will ensure that the cooperatives access such facilities and other services like extension, insurance, etc., and even market access and they are able to pay back at the end of each circle, etc.
“Handholding farmers (women, youths, and farmers living with disability cooperatives) to access existing CBN agricultural credit facilities through a team or consultancy firm which prepares their business proposals, interfaces, and negotiates with BOA, Bank of Industry, NIRSAL, commercial and microfinance banks.
“The review of Ondo State agricultural policy should prioritize greater alignment to the CAADP commitment as well as an institutionalized data collection process and the establishment of an analytical system to make the data useable for better policy decision making.
“The Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture should organise a stakeholders consultative meeting before the budget calls for circulars to ensure that the needs of smallholder farmers especially women are property captured and prioritized.
“Insecurity has grossly affected food production in the state, especially smallholder farmers and this necessitated the establishment of Amutekun Corps. This security outfit should be strengthened to secure farmlands.
“Ondo state government should revamp Ore farm settlement which has the capacity to engage youth in viable agricultural economic activity.
“Extension Services: with access to farm demonstrations for smallholder women farmers at 5%, farmers field school at 25%, training at 43%, and information service at 27%, there is an urgent need to increase the allocation to extension services. In addition, increase the number of female extension agents and train all extension agents on gender issues
“Budget line for women in agriculture and agro women initiative should be increased and released completely for on-farm specialized agricultural training, and subsidy for improved farm inputs. This will help rural women maximize economic opportunities, increase productivity and improve food security.
“The plan to procure power tiller and its attachments, one 4 row planter, one boom sprayer, and one fertilizer broadcaster should be for the service of smallholder farmers not for the purchasing agency or established farmers. However, this number of technologies is not sufficient to meet the demand of smallholder farmers across the state. We kindly suggest a partnership between MDAs in the agriculture sector and the faculty of engineering, of tertiary institutions in the state to develop gender-friendly machines for smallholder farmers which will be useful for sowing, planting, harvesting, processing, and storage.
“Over the years AISA has failed to meet up with its mandate to provide safe chemical and seeds for farmers; thereby leaving them at the peril of hazardous, ineffective and expensive chemical which are not met for our climatic and soil texture. A soil test should be done before procurement or recommendation of procurement of input. Input subsidy programme be targeted to poor farmers who, without subsidies would not adopt key inputs.
“RAMMP should commence work on the establishment of marketing hub to increase access to market for smallholder farmers and reduce post-harvest losses which is about
“Ondo suffers from huge annual post-harvest losses with a share out of the national estimated losses of N3.5 trillion annually. Smallholder women farmers in Ondo State have access to only 14.09% processing facilities and 10.49% storage facilities, this is a big gap and needs to be filled urgently with massive investment in cottage processing and storage facilities.
The members of the group include Justice Development and Peace Centre (JDPC); Komuniti in Action Initiative; Centre for Rehabilitation of Exceptional Persons (CREP); Knowledge and Care Provider (KCP); The Speaking Voice; Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON); and Activista Ondo.