Samuel Luka, Bauchi
The Association of Small- Scale Agro Producers In Nigeria (ASSAPIN) has called on the federal and state governments to allocate at least 60 per cent of the agriculture investments in budgets to cater for the small scale farmers.
The group observed that there is persistent poor access by many small- scale farmers to the various funds for agriculture development in the country.
ASSAPIN also urged government at all levels to prioritise participatory and transparent sectoral budget process for accountability and good governance for the small – scale farmers in the country.
The Executive Director of the association in Bauchi, Hajiya Amina Bala Jibrin made the call during the official launching of the Influencing Strategy, Farmers Manifesto and Commitment held at Hazibal Hotels and Suites, Bauchi yesterday.
ASSAPIN described agriculture as the largest employer of labour in the country that deserved better funding to attract more investors so as to create employment and ensure food security.
Hajiya Amina said over 70 per cent of Nigerians are engaged in agriculture with many of them having no knowledge of how to access fertilisers and labour – saving equipment.
“The small – scale farmers are more vulnerable. In the light of this and in view of the continuous nose – diving nature of budgetary allocations to the agricultural sector in the past few years, there should be visible efforts at increasing allocation to the sector in line with the Maputo/ Malabo commitments”, she requested.
Hajiya Amina called on governments at all levels to construct more rural infrastructure such as roads from farming communities to markets to ease access to farm produce.
She called on the government to reform the Agriculture Extension Services delivery to reduce the wide extension – farmer ratio and facilitate access to extension agent contact by farmer.
“The reform should involve the restructuring of the Agricultural Development Program (ADP) as well as training and increasing the number of extension agents in the country”, she opined.
On his part, the Bauchi State Head of Civil Service (HoS), Adamu Yahuza Haruna who lunched the farmers’ manifestor lauded the Association of small – scale farmers of Nigeria for the initiative, assuring that the Bauchi State Government will continue to support the initiative.
Yahuza pledged his determination as head of civil service in the state to support the influencer struggle in driving development projects to their communities.
He equally charged the influencers to focus more attention on the budget processes of their local governments to ensure priority needs of their communities are captured in the budget.
The head of service further assured them to be in the forefront of the struggle whenever the need arises.