Women farmers want increased budgetary allocation to agric sector
The Nigerian Association of Women in Agriculture (NAWIA), has urged the Plateau government to increase the budgetary allocation to agriculture to boost activities in that sector.
Mrs. Ngizan Chahul, National President of the association, made the call while on an advocacy visit to the State’s Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), on Tuesday in Jos.
“It is only through strong budgetary allocations and adequate release of such funds that the agriculture sector can achieve the desired results of transforming the fortunes of the state.
“It is only when it is well funded that the sector can be transformed into the hub of the nation’s economy.
“Taking a cursory look at the budgets of Plateau over the years, the allocations to the agricultural sector have been very small and this development is worrisome” she said.
She stated that successive governments had not worked out consistent and progressive policies for a robust agricultural sector, and wondered why such a crucial sector should be starved of funds.
“In the practical sense, this means that the small farmers, particularly the women farmers, have been solidly on their own without much support.
“These smallholder farmers depend so much on government agriculture initiative and services to improve their productivity.
“Since such initiatives and services are not forthcoming, the food security of families and the entire nation is being threatened.
“So, the need for better budgetary allocations and prompt release of funds to various agriculture organs cannot be overemphasized because this will go a long way to make Plateau the agricultural hub of the country,” she restated.
Chahul also called for processing factories to attract investors into the state and encourage young people develop interest in farming.
She said that setting up of factories would also address the problems of middle men, who had always taken advantage of the helpless situation of the local farmers.
”Setting up processing factories will not only address the issue of waste, but will also enable farmers to have direct access to the market and reap the fruits of their hard labour,” Chahul said.
Responding, Mr Luka Kefas, ADP’s Director of Technical Services, commended the association for the visit, and declared government’s intention to sink more funds into the agriculture.
“Government has been doing well in the release of funds to enable us implement some of our programmes.
“Plateau has also been up to date in the payment of counterpart funds for some local and international agricultural programmes aimed supporting farmers and boosting agricultural activities,” he said.
The Director further said that investors were already coming into the state and expressed optimism that factories would soon spring up.