Bauchi Agricultural Stakeholders Decry Spate Of Insecurity
It has been lamented that the spate of insecurity in Nigeria is negatively affecting the agricultural sector as farmers particularly peasants who form the majority of the farmers are gradually abandoning their farms for fear of falling victims to acts of banditry.
The lamentation was expressed by stakeholders in the agriculture sector in Bauchi state who decried the spate of insecurity in the country, particularly farm security issues, saying that farms are getting abandoned due to security threats and natural disasters.
The stakeholders said that without solving farm security issues, security challenges in states cannot be addressed, adding that with the rising hunger and social insecurity, the peace of the state will continue to be threatened.
The stakeholders made this known in a communiqué issued after a one day Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on the 2022 Agriculture Budget, held at the conference hall of the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP) in Bauchi recently.
According to the communique, making farms safe and funding agricultural mechanisation will create not only more food but also jobs to engage restless youths that have turned to crime for a living.
The communique further noted that smallholder women farmers have continually been given a back seat in the discussion, planning, and implementation of the agricultural budget, despite their role of contributing over 70% of agricultural production, adding that the Agricultural sector budget is still bedevilled by late budget releases and policy inconsistency.
It further contained that, “Though the capital projects utilization in the agriculture sector in 2021 seem to have improved, it can hardly be said that these allocations largely affected the practices of smallholder farmers who were confronted with both COVID-19, herders-farmers clashes, natural disasters, late budget releases and crowd-outs by political farmers and contractors who are the budget first liners.”
The stakeholders also stated that “Access to credit and financial services (from government and non-governmental channels) by smallholder farmers particularly women, is very low in Bauchi state. The criteria to access formal financial credits schemes and programs can neither be understood nor met by over 70% of smallholder women farmers.”
According to the stakeholders, ‘This is due to a high level of bureaucracy; the complexity of application processes, failure of State and LG to provide application supports to farmers, the poor literacy level of most of the women, and the failure of the credit managers to adopt credit models that take cognisance of the farmer’s realities and take advantage of the traditional savings cooperatives which these women already belong to.”
“There is a huge investment in the procurement of heavy expensive machines which are not always appropriate to the needs of the users and unsuitable for the topography and size of land cultivated by smallholder farmers especially women. These technologies are also hard to maintain and usually is dumped when faults develop, leading to wastage,” Parts of the communique read.
The stakeholders recommended that the state government 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 as postulated in the CAADP framework, adding that there should be political will to allocate at least 10% of annual budgets and actuals of revenues to the agriculture sector with appropriate budget lines.
Organizers of the meeting included ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, (FAWOYDI), Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Budget and Planning, House Committee on Agriculture and Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON).
source – tribuneonlineng.com