SWOFON, BCG call for review of Kogi Agric Policies, Framework

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja

SMALL-SCALE Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) in collaboration with Kogi State Budget Committee Group (BCG) has called for review of existing policies and framework on Agriculture and initiate a comprehensive policy framework for the sector.

The group made the call at a press conference on Thursday in Lokoja on, “Kogi State 2024 Approved Agriculture Budget” organized under a partnership between SWOFON and BCG with support from Actionaid Nigeria.

on Thursday in Lokoja, the two bodies said it was imperative for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to review the existing policies.

Addressing the newsmen, Mr Matthias Okpanachi, Chairman of BCG said it was imperative for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to review the existing policies.

This, he said, could be done by possibly initiating a comprehensive policy framework that incorporates the change agenda of the administration.

He said the call was informed by the persistent failure of policies to address critical issues in the Agriculture budget formulation and implementation, issues with inputs, post-harvest loses, credit to Smallholder Farmers and extension services.

Okpanachi called for increased funding to the Agriculture sector, saying there is need to meet the 10 per cent minimum budgetary allocation in line with the July, 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security.

“The increase should also be channelled to capital expenditure and increase in overheads that facilitates the realization of the sector’s objectives. The capital expenditure should be more of developmental capital as against administrative capital expenditure”, he said.

The BCG Chairman reiterated the need for improved Agriculture sector’s per capita investment saying that based on a 2.3 per cent growth rate of the 2006 population census, Kogi population in 2024 is projected to be 4,666,200.

“With an estimated allocation of N8,69 billion to the agriculture sector, the per capita investment will amount to N1,862.63. This is a 13 per cent drop in per capital spending in the agriculture sector over the 2023 figures.

“Again, it points to poor appreciation of the importance of the sector in the State development and poverty reduction.

“This spending is still grossly inadequate considering the current economic challenges, trends and depreciation in the value of the Naira”, he pointed out.

Also speaking, Hajia Rukayat Larai Ahmed, Coordinator of SWOFON in the state however commended Kogi State Government for providing for post harvest loses reduction intervention in the 2024 budget.

“This is important as Kogi suffers from huge annual post-harvest losses with a share of N94.5billion out of the national estimated losses of N3.5 trillion annually.

“Smallholder women farmers in Kogi State have access to only 19.90 per cent processing facilities and 19.45 per cent storage facilities, this is a big gap and needs to be filled urgently with massive investment in cottage processing and storage facilities” she said.

Mrs Faith Omeneke Barikisu, Deputy State Coordinator of SWOFON, implored the state government to look critically into the issues of Women and Youth in Agriculture, Adequate Financing, Agricultural Finance Credit, farm inputs, extension services and labour saving technologies.

Others are climate resilient sustainable agriculture and agroecology with construction of green house farming system, research and development, post harvest loses and monitoring and evaluation.