Rising from a two-day consultative forum on the 2023 agriculture budget in Lagos, yesterday, stakeholders drawn from organisations, government ministries, departments and agencies, institutes and bodies of farmers, have called on the Federal Government and the other sub-national governments to give priority to agriculture by committing 10 per cent of their yearly budget to the sector to meet the 10 per cent benchmark of the Maputo/Malabo Declaration.
Reading the communiqué after the forum’s meeting, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Bima Muhammad Enagi, said despite the challenges facing the sector, agriculture remains the largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP in the second quarter of 2022 at 23.3 per cent; beyond the contributions of Trade (16.8 per cent), Telecommunication (15 per cent), Manufacturing (8.7 per cent) and the Oil and Gas sector (6.3 per cent).
He said: “The agricultural sector has the largest potential to lead millions of Nigerians out of poverty. Thus, the sector should be given utmost priority in national economic policies and national and sub-national budgets.
“As approved by the 44th National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD), the three tiers of government should commit 10 per cent of their yearly budget to the agriculture sector to meet the 10 per cent Maputo/Malabo Declaration, required to support, at least, six per cent growth rate for the sector.
“There should be political will to allocate at least 10 per cent of budgets and actuals of revenues to the agriculture sector with appropriate budget lines, so that Nigeria will be on track in the next Biennial Reporting to the African Union Heads of States and Government, in line with the Malabo Declaration and Commitments of 2014.”
Recall that the sector only got about N291 billion in the 2022 budget, representing a paltry 1.8 per cent of the total budget.
The senator further charged the Federal Government “to tackle the menace of insecurity urgently, brutally and frontally.”