…recommends more allocations to women farmers, youths
By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
STAKEHOLDERS in the Agricultural Sector, including Smallholder Women farmers, yesterday picked a hole in Ebonyi State Government’s budgetary allocation to the sector in 2021.
They argued that the 2021 budget for Agriculture did not specify any clear line for smallholder women farmers, neither was there any budget line items for youths in agriculture.
According to them, the 2021 budget allocation for Agriculture was very small and does not meet the 10% Maputo declaration as the average percentage investment in agriculture between 2017- 2021 is 2.88%.
The Stakeholders who were drawn from the 13 Local Government Areas of the State made their observations known during the State Level Consultative Forum on 2022 Agriculture budget organized by Participatory Development Alternatives, PDA with support from Actionaid at San Diego Hotel, Abakaliki.
They further recommended that the State Government should in 2022 Agricultural budget create a specific budget line to enable Smallholder women farmers to thrive in the State.
“Considering the immense contributions of smallholder women farmers in the Agricultural sector, it is important the State Government create specific budget lines for smallholder women farmers in the 2022 agriculture budget, allocating not less than 15% of the total agricultural budget to them.
“Government should increase the 2022 budget line for agriculture to, at least 10%, to meet the Maputo benchmark. This will also help to boost food production in the State and push up the GDP of the State.
‘The 2022 agriculture budget should capture labour-saving technologies like harvester, planter and power tilters etc, which will serve as a friendly machine that will support smallholder women farmers’ work and also reduce the issue of food scarcity and help meet the demands of the target population.”
Earlier, the Executive Director, PDA, Ms Chidinma Arukwe Elemchi who welcomed participants to the event stressed that Smallholder women farmers being key stakeholders in the Agriculture sector, needed to be given priority attention, especially during budgetary allocation in the State.
She advocated that the 2022 budget should create a specific budget line for both youths and women as their role in food production cannot be underestimated, if the State must be reckoned with, in terms of food security and production.