By Godwin Enna
Agricultural stakeholders in Nasarawa state have called on the state government to increase the budget allocate to agriculture in order to ensure food security.
This was contained in a communiqué read by National President, Association of Small Scale Farmers (ASSAPIN), Mr Joshua Jonathan at the end of one day workshop on agriculture budget priorities for the state.
The meeting, organized by OXFAM in Keffi LGA, brought together government representatives, civil society organizations, farmers, women groups as well as development partners, discussed, identified challenges and recommended plans and programs on how appropriate funds will be made to fight hunger.
The communiqué however recommended that government should urgently increase 10 per cent on budget allocation to agriculture and ensure timely release of full intervention funds for the farmers to collectively address food shortages in the state and beyond.
“Government and Non- governmental stakeholders in the meeting unanimously agreed that there is a need to increase the agricultural budget to high with the 10% recommended in the Maputo’s declaration.
“This will help ensure appropriate resources are made for agricultural development in the State to address both economic development and food security”, the communiqué stated.
Accordingly, the communiqué also appreciated government’s current policies on agriculture and urged for inclusion in their plans and implementation, recommending further that the State should always make it budget and expenditure public including its website, offices and libraries for proper accountability.
On farmer/ herder clashes, the stakeholders also urged government to upgrade all grazing reserves in the state and make operational, urging for a review of land tenure system to address the needs of women farmers.