…recommends specific budgetary allocation for smallholder women farmers in subsequent budget.
By Dare Akogun
Small holders women farmers in Kwara State have requested that the state government should grant them access to cheap and easy credit facilities for improved agricultural production.
Speaking on the Analysis of 2022 Kwara Agriculture Sector Budget in Ilorin on Monday, the people who are part of the participating organizations under the Scaling-Up Public Investment in Agriculture (SUPIA) Budget Committee funded by ActionAid Nigeria, lamented that there was no budgetary allocation made to ‘Access to Credit’ as a line budget in the 2022 allocations
President, Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) in Kwara State, Hajia Bosede Anifowose, who said that farmers’ access to credit is critical and key to sustainable farming towards ensuring food security, urged the state government to make provision for the budget line and set a mechanism for monitoring and getting feedback to guarantee sustainability.
Hajia Anifowose, who spoke on behalf of SUPIA participating organizations, said that the Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture should create a yearly strengthening Access to Credit budget line.
“This funding should focus on developing 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 interest rate.
“Handholding farmers (women, youths and farmers living with disability in cooperatives) should have access to 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.”
Earlier in his presentation the coordinator SUPIA project in Kwara state, Abdurrahman Ayuba, represented at the event by Ms Kaosara Sulaimon, said that there was no provision for Women farmers in 2021 and 2022 budget allocations, even though they produce 75 per cent of the food consumed in the country.
According to him “We, therefore, recommend specific budgetary allocation for smallholder women farmers in the subsequent budget.
“We recommend that the government should outline various programmes targeted at youth empowerment/employment through agriculture and make the clear budgetary allocation.
“Just like in previous years, the government made provision for inorganic fertilizer which contributes to global warming. We advocate that government should make provision for organic fertilizer which will not only reduce the effect of global warming but also ensure the production of quality agricultural produce, ” he said.
The group therefore, advised the government to make use of the N300,000,000 budgeted for farm input for the purchase of organic farm inputs.
“We observed that no provision was made for post-harvest losses reduction intervention despite the amount of farm produce smallholder farmers lose yearly. We recommend that government should make provision for training of smallholder farmers on processing and value addition, access to processing facilities as well as provision of storage
facilities which are effective strategies of reducing post-harvest losses”, he added.
Ayuba, who however commended the state government for allocating a budget line for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), said that the M&E budget should be sustained and improved upon in subsequent years.
He also said that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Small-Holder Women Farmer Associations should be involved to achieve results and impacts.
He says, “In line with our commitment to partnering with the Kwara State Government towards achieving its agenda on Agriculture and entrenching sustainable food security, we recommend as follows: The 3.59% budgeted for Agriculture in the 2022 budget is far below the international benchmark, though the percentage for this year (3.59%) is a bit higher than that of last year (3.09%), which is a good improvement.
“The government is therefore urged to increase its agriculture budget to meet the 10% Maputo/Malabo declaration and commitment.
“All Agricultural related activities budget should be domiciled in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure transparency.
“The Research and Development components of the budget which is N8,000,000 is low compared to the amount budgeted in 2021. We, therefore, recommend that the R&D component of the budget should be increased and well spelt out, he emphasised.
The SUPIA participating groups include the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE) Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) Welfare for Children and Teenagers Initiative (WECTIN), Fulfilling Dreams Foundation (FDF), Meadows Community and Development outreach (MCDO) Worthy Life Education and Health Foundation (WLEHF) Community Agricultural Initiative Programme (CAIP) Connected Development (CODE).