By Chigozie Uzodike
To address the low budgetary allocation to agriculture which is less than 2%, civil society organizations under the auspices of Agric Budget Plus Cluster have partnered the ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Imo State for possible increase.
Speaking when the Agric Budget Plus Cluster paid an advocacy visit to the commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Imo State, Chief Cosmas Maduba, one of the cluster organizations and the Executive Director of CARA Development Foundation, Nnennaya Enyinna-Eneremadu noted that the 1.1% allocated to agriculture is inadequate to address all the issues needed to make for food security in the state, adding that there was need for all hands to be on deck so that all the agricultural value chain are looked into. She posited that everyone uses product of agriculture, hence the reason the sector needs to have more budgetary provisions for healthy living.
She said that the demands of the Agric Budget Plus Cluster is for strategic partnership with major stakeholders like the ministry, access to information and access to monitor the implementation of the budget to ensure that the increase if it happens is channeled to the actual places.
In his contribution, another cluster organization, Community and Youth Development Initiative, Fexlfame Enisire who’s the Executive Director said there’s need to work with every stakeholder to achieve the agric budget increase.
In his remarks, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) who is also a cluster member, Ayo Enwerem noted that Imo State operates rain-fed dependent farming, stressing that the government should encourage irrigation system of farming so that when the Agric Budget is increased, there will be more farming activities to achieve results.
The Imo State Coordinator, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition (CS-SUNN) and Executive Director of Foundation for Livelihood Advancement, Elder Kenneth Amogu noted that the State has Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN), stressing that there’s also Multisectoral Action Plan on Nutrition and the State Food Policy, which the advocacy of the civil society organizations has brought to bear.
He posited that the Agric Budget Plus Cluster advocates for increasing the budget for Agriculture by 5%, insisting that it will make available more funds for food production, especially the Biofortified with Vitamin A food. He said the ministry played major role in achieving the Food policy in the state.
Responding, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief Cosmas Maduba committed to working with the cluster for the increase, adding that increasing the budget should be everybody’s business because according to him, everybody needs food and textile being produced from agricultural practices. He said the advocacy is a right step in the right direction. He said the door of the ministry is open to the Agric Budget Plus Cluster as the ministry is not a secret society. He urged the CSOs to follow up with the ministry in terms of knowing when the call circular will be out for 2023 so that inputs can begin to come in.
“We are open for partnership and ready to go”. It is only a man who don’t appreciate the importance of agriculture that will shut his door for issues like”, he submitted.
The Agric Budget Plus Cluster for 5% increase in the budgetary allocation for Agriculture is a project of USAID, in partnership with Palladium.