By Suzan Edeh
Bauchi-The Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP) has assured Small-Holder Women farmers in the state and the committee working on the Agriculture budget in the state of increased funding of the Bauchi Agricultural sector.
Recall that the Bauchi state government allocated the sum of N5.4 Billion for the agricultural sector representing 2.5 percent of the total budget of N202 Billion N30.5 billion was budgeted for the health sector, representing 15.08 while Education sector got 26.6 billion naira representing 13 percent of the total budget.
Speaking during an advocacy visit by SWOFON and budget committee on Agriculture in the state, the Programme Manager BSADP, Alhaji Abubakar Jafar Illehla stated that the contributions of women farmers in the state cannot be over-emphasized, hence they should be carried out in all agricultural activities in the state.
He said that BSADP will assist in pushing for increased allocation to the agricultural sector of the state, adding that when the Agricultural Trust fund is fully functional in the state, more funds will be injected into the agricultural sector which will address challenges women farmers face in agriculture.
The Programme Manager said that the organization is working in collaboration with NAFDAC and Standard Organization of Nigeria to checkmate the menace of fake adulterated sub-standard Agro-chemicals which has become a source of concern for farmers in the state.
He urged women farmers and other farmers in the state to explore other technological methods of producing fertilizer locally, instead of waiting for the state government to launch the sale of the product, pointing out that this will eliminate problems of late planting and harvest by farmers in the state.
Speaking during the visit, State Chairperson SWOFON, Hajiya Marka Abbas said that women farmers in the state are not satisfied with the budgetary allocation to the Agricultural sector in the state as it is one of the sectors that has the lowest budgetary allocation over the years in the state.
She said women farmers produce 80 percent of agricultural produce and contribute 50 percent in the area of animal husbandry, but are only accessing 20 percent of agricultural output, adding that access to finance, loans, farm inputs and implements was very poor.
“Among the demands of SWOFON is the implementation of the National Gender Policy in the agricultural sector of the state to boost food production and promote food security.There is also the need for funds to be allocated to Women in the State Agriculture Budget should be released as budgeted to support the implementation of human capital development activities for members to improve agriculture knowledge,” she said.
Earlier in her speech, the Chairperson of the agricultural budget committee in the state, urged the state House of Assembly to facilitate the recruitment of more Extension Workers and construction of farmers capacity building centers in the agricultural sector, stressing that women farmers are in dire need of more knowledge in modern trends of agriculture.