From Beatrice GONDYI, Bauchi
The Bauchi state public financing in agriculture (PFA) budget committee has decried the inability of farmers in the state especially small holder women farmers to go to their farms as a result of the recent partial lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
This was disclosed by the Chairperson of the committee Mrs Tabawa Atiku Monday during a press briefing on the findings of the state 2020 approved agricultural budget and analysis organized by the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI) with support from Actionaid Nigeria.
She noted that, the women farmers who ‘produce over 60 per cent food consumed in the state’ recorded massive post-harvest losses on staple food like; rice, maize, beans, mullets, sorghum and fresh products such as vegetables, tomatoes, onions and pepper.
“The partial lockdown has led to poor access to markets to sell their farm produces. This has made small holder women farmers to be unable to move their products from their farms to the market or from their rural communities to semi-urban and urban markets respectively”. She decried.
The committee also revealed that the 2020 allocation to agriculture in the state was below the 10 per cent malabo declaration of 2014 as the sum of N8, 934, 599, 161 billion was allocated out of the N167, 215, 807, 500 billion budget of the state.
She noted that the funds earmarked to the agricultural sector was just 5.34 per cent which is far less than the malabo declaration.
She therefore urged the state government to increase the allocation to the agricultural sector, ensure prompt releases of the funds and involve small holder women farmers and other key stakeholders in the budgetary process in order to capture the real needs of farmers in the state.
“Special community local produce buying and transportation should be arranged to buy produce from small holder farmers to ensure food supply is maintained and income is generated.