Stakeholders blame the N363 billion agriculture budget projected for 2024.

Stakeholders blame the N363 billion agriculture budget projected for 2024.
The N362.9 billion planned agriculture budget for 2024 has drawn criticism from ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON), and other agriculture sector stakeholders.

At a joint news conference on Saturday in Abuja to analyze the proposed budget for the agriculture sector for 2024, the groups voiced their opinions.

The Non State Actors Coalition (CNC), ONE, and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) were among the other stakeholders.

They called the N362.9 billion total budget for the agriculture sector "extremely low," noting that it accounted for only 1.32 percent of the whole budget of the Federal Government.

They emphasized that, as the industry with the greatest potential to transform the economy and provide jobs for a large number of young people, agriculture needs to receive adequate support from the national budget.

According to Azubike Nwokoye, Program Manager, Food and Agriculture, AAN, the agricultural sector should be given priority in the national budget since it has the greatest potential to transform the economy and create jobs for a large number of young people.

For the last seven years, the portion of the budget allotted to the agriculture sector has not surpassed two percent of the total budget.

However, he stated, "actual data has not demonstrated that the amount of resources allocated to a sector increases with its production in terms of social benefit to the society."

According to Nwokoye, assuming a 21.4 percent inflation rate, the budget for the agriculture sector would have a real worth or purchasing power of N285 billion in 2024.

He pointed out that even though the sector had a budget of N362.9 billion, under all circumstances, the amount would decrease by at least N77.7 billion.

He says that in order to achieve the intended investment impact in terms of money, the N77.7 billion deficit must be closed, either by adding more budgetary resources or by bringing inflation down to the absolute minimum.

The purpose of the conference, according to Mrs. Mercy Nnanna, Secretary of the SWOFON FCT Chapter, was to examine how the industry was financed and positioned for expansion, job creation, meeting domestic food needs, and promoting the export of high-quality processed agricultural commodities.

The emphasis is on the adequacy of the budget and its compatibility with the CAADP framework; how it tackles the issues of women, youth, and smallholder farmers; and how much money is set aside for agricultural components such value chain development, irrigation, and climate resilience.

"It also emphasizes, among other things, post-harvest loss reduction supports, extension services, and credit access," she stated.

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