SWOFON, BCG calls for review of Kogi agricultural policies

The Small – Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) in partnership  with te Kogi State Budget Committee Group (BCG) has called for review of existing policies and framework on agriculture to boost food production in the state.

The group made the call at a press conference held in Lokoja, titled “Kogi State 2024 Approved Agriculture Budget,” organised unde SWOFON and BCG collaboration with support from Actionaid Nigeria.

Chairman of BCG, Matthias Okpanachi, while addressing newsmen, said it was imperative for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to review the existing policies to enhance the performance of the sector.

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.

He 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, Rukayat Larai Ahmed, coordinator of SWOFON in the state commended Kogi state government for providing for post harvest loses reduction intervention in the 2024 budget, noting the state  suffers from huge annual post-harvest losses with a share of N94.5 billion out of the national estimated losses of N3.5 trillion annually.