A non-governmental organization (NGO) has decried the steady decline of the contributions of Agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the years, now down to 23 per cent from 40.
Gift Omoniwa Action Aid right partner in Kogi State who expressed the sadness said that 79 percent of Nigerians were engaged in agriculture while over 90 percent of food being consumed in the country was produced by small holder farmers, almost 80 per cent of them were said to be women.
Omoniwa who doubles as the Executive Director of Kogi based Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) called on journalists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to play critical roles in budget monitoring, tracking and advocacy to aid agricultural production especially at small-holder farmers’ levels stated this in lokoja on Wednesday
The Programme Manager of the Action Aid regretted that agriculture used to account for 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country but had dropped to 23 per cent aggravating concerns and poverty trap among small holder farmers.
According to her, this was due to a myriad of challenges including foremost, access to credit facilities and farm inputs facing farmers especially the small holder women farmers, adding that while allocation to agriculture sector has continued to dwindle and hardly meet the Maputo declaration of 10 per cent per cent of national budgets, implementation had constituted a great challenge.
She said the call for monitoring and tracking of budget implementation had become imperative with journalists and Civil Society Organisations utilizing the Freedom of Information Bill to source information from MDAs.
She emphasized that sustained tracking of agriculture sector budgets would greatly reduce corruption in the sector, adding that tracking would equally put duty bearers on their toes and make them more transparent and accountable in their dealings.
Omoniwa also disclosed that ActionAid had recently organised a two-day Media Training on Agriculture Budgeting Monitoring, Tracking and Advocacy at Goshen City, Auta-Baleffi, Nasarawa State to enable adequate publicity.