Food Security: Agric Budget Committee in Bauchi urges gov’t to employ 1, 000 agric extension workers

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Story from Najib Sani, Bauchi

The Bauchi State Public Finance for Agriculture Budget Committee has urged the state government to employ about 1, 000 agricultural extension workers to ensure the attainment of food security and zero hunger.

Chairperson of the committee, Mrs Tabawa Atiku made the call on Friday while briefing journalists on the findings from the analysis of the state’s 2021 approved agricultural budget organised by Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), in collaboration with Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI) with support from ActionAid Nigeria.

According to her, Bauchi state has at present about five million farmers, suggesting that to achieve food sufficiency, efforts should be geared to meet the “one extension worker to 3, 000 farmers ratio”.

Tabawa, who pointed out that there is always new researches and farming techniques, said extension workers who are experts in agriculture should be there to educate farmers in order to boost their production.

“On extension services, due to the shortfall in the number of extension workers in Bauchi state, we suggest immediate employment of about one thousand of such professionals to ensure the attainment of food security in line with zero hunger and food security.

“The Ministry of Agriculture should collaborate with the Bauchi State College of Agriculture to promote graduating students from the college to be utilised in order to achieve human development capacity. They will serve in various capacities especially in the rural areas to support smallholder farmers in the utilisation of new technologies in agriculture,” she said.

While commending the state government for allocating N12.5 billion to agriculture in the 2021 budget equivalent to 5.9 per cent of the state’s budget as against the 5.34 per cent earmarked last year, Tabawa called for the speedy release of the funds so that agricultural programs will be effectively implemented.

The committee called on the government to honour the “Maputo Declaration” by allocating not less than 10 per cent of its state total budget to agriculture in the light of diversifying the economy and wealth creation for the state.

The committee also expressed concern about zero allocation to “Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture” in the 2020-2021 budget despite the threat posed by climate change, farmers/herders’ clashes, desert encroachment and land degradation, requesting governor Bala Mohammed to include it in the supplementary budget.

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