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Farmers ask FG to split Agric Ministry

By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN— A coalition of Small Scale Agro Producers of Nigeria, ASAPIN, has canvassed the breaking up of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources into two separate ministries.

The coalition, comprising United Movement of Small Scale Farmers, Strengthening the Livelihoods of Small Scale Farmers in Nigeria, Middle Belt Small Scale Farmers Network, Civil Society Coalition for Povery Eradication among others, also called for the establishment of an agency to cater for the specific needs of small holder farmers and small scale agriculture in the country.

In an address by the National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Osaro Odemwingie, at the formal launching  of the Voice for Food Security in Benin  yesterday, noted that series of studies carried out by the group indicated that  there was wastage in the agricultural sector through procurement of inappropriate technologies, some of which were injurious to the fragile ecology.

Odemwingie expressed shock that in the 2010 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly, only 3.7 percent of the federal budget was allocated to the agricultural sector, representing a drop of over eight percent allocated to the sector in the 2009 budget.

It added that the allocation of 3% in the current budget to the agricultural sector was a far cry from the 10% prescribed by the Maputo Declaration of 2004 to which Nigeria was a signatory.

The group, however, said it was committed to the enactment of a Right to Food/Food Security legislation as well its inclusion as a clause in the Constitution now under review.

It also promised to ensure that the current review of the Land Use Act guaranteed access to land by women and small scale farmers and support massive rural infrastructure development  programme to facilitate increased agricultural productivity.


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