Civil Organization Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has encouraged various state governments on increased budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector in the country to achieve maximum food production for the nation’s economic sustainability instead of the huge sums expended on the consumption of imported food.
The call was made recently at a one day workshop organized by CISLAC for Civil Society Organisations and farmers on the theme “CSOS/Farmers Network Capacity Building on Advocating for increased Budgetary Allocation in Agriculture in Benue State’’, held at the conference hall of Hallydays Hotel and Resort Markurdi, the Benue State Capital.
In his keynote address, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, Executive Director of CISLAC, who was represented by Mr. Kolawale Banwo, lamented on the poor funding of the agricultural sector in the country and Benue State in particular; while stressing that as the food basket of the nation, the state can feed the nation if its potential are properly harnessed. He used the event to call for tireless public awareness on the need for increased funding of the sector to achieve maximum results.
Mr. Banwo saw legislative advocacy as a tool for promoting food security in the country, and called for increased advocacy on legislations that will favour agricultural production in the state. He suggested that a memorandum of understanding be signed between BENGONET and the media for increased awareness creation and publicity on budget issues in order to enlighten the public on what transpires around them.
In his remarks at the occasion, Benue State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia advocated for scrapping of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the country and establishment of Benue for Agriculture at the presidency for proper monitoring and implementation of agricultural policies in the country.
He said: “Increased budgetary allocation to agriculture alone cannot solve the problem of the sector in the country but consistent regional policies as well as more private participation in the sector can bring the desired result. National policies on agriculture may not be favourable in other regions for certain farm produce because of the variations in climatic conditions in the different parts of the country. According to him, this implies that certain crops will not thrive in some parts of the country, hence, the need for regional policies on agriculture for enhanced food production.”
Also, in this presentation on budgeting for food security and historical overview of the budget in the agricultural sector of Benue State, BENGONET Chair, Barr. Justine Gbagir called on government to encourage agricultural production by purchasing excess farm produce from farmers; and establish processing factories where farm produces can be processed in order to avoid wastage which constitutes a major set-back to the sector.
By: Oladipupo Gbenga Sadiq