By Victoria Ojeme and Glory Odizuru, Abuja
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resource of the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) has called on Parliamentarians across member states to increase budgetary allocations for agriculture.
Speaking at the 2nd ECOWAS people’s Agriculture Budget summit jointly organised by the ECOWAS Parliament and Action Aid, Dr. Ernest Aubee, Head of ECOWAS Department of Agriculture and Water Resources urged Parliamentarians across region to champion increased budgeting on Agriculture in their various countries.
Ernest said “In 2003, at the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security and the 10 percent national budget allocation to agriculture development which contained prominently the commitment to the allocation of at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.”
“After the signing of this declaration in 2003, and a review in 2011, some members state has been consistent in ensuring that the content on the declaration is appropriately implemented, while some are however not consistent,” Ernest said.
Highlighting the progress of the declaration, Ernest said, “Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone has been consistent in the execution of the declaration, while other member states are waving.
Continuing, he recommended that Parliamentarians should advocate to their Member states governments to increase public financing of agriculture and meet to the 10% Maputo Declaration.
“There is need for adequate legislative oversight that would ensure that the ECOWAS Members States do not deviate from their commitment on allocation of minimum of 10 percent of government expenditure to agriculture.
“Parliamentarians should ensure that right investments are made to support smallholder farmers especially women and youths in agriculture, on agricultural finance/credit, farm inputs, extension services, climate resilient sustainable Agriculture, agroecology, labour saving technologies and in research and development without administrative/bloated overheads,” Ernest recommended.