• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Agric allocation relative to national budget lowest in 7yrs

Agric allocation relative to national budget lowest in 7yrs

Despite the growing concern about food insecurity in Nigeria, the Buhari-led government has allocated its lowest budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector relative to the national budget in seven years, BusinessDay’s analysis shows.

Nigeria, in 2023 allocated N228.4 billion to the agricultural sector which accounts for 1.05 percent of the total budget of N21.83 trillion approved for the year despite the administration’s claim that it is working towards attaining food security.

The poor budgetary allocation to Nigeria’s agriculture cannot at the barest minimum address issues relating to mechanisation, rehabilitation of irrigation facilities and dams, storage, and research and development among others that have continued to impact farmers’ productivity negatively, according to experts.

The experts say that the proposed allocation is an indication that the government is not ready to address the lingering issues limiting players in the agric sector.

“For the agricultural sector, I’m not expecting anything. The budget just came out, it’s not looking like anything is going to happen,” said Edobong Akpabio, chairperson of the agriculture and allied sector group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“How can we fund research properly to develop improved seeds, rehabilitate our irrigation facilities and dams as well as provide extension service with just 1.05 percent allocation from the total budget?” she asked.

Read also: 2023 budget hangs on meeting oil target, ending subsidy

“If we are truly serious about diversification through agric and food security, then we need to do much more in terms of allocating more money to the sector,” she said.

In 2015, Nigeria’s total national budget was N4.49 trillion, out of which N40.66 billion was allocated to the agriculture sector, representing 0.9 percent.

Although this increased between 2016-2019, it was 1.26, 1.82, and 2.32 percent in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. The highest proportion of the national budget that has been allocated to agriculture was 3.61 percent in 2019.

In 2020, it dropped to 1.51 percent. It increased in 2021 to 1.92 percent but dropped again to 1.25 percent in 2022.

“At the sub-national level, budgetary allocation to agricultural interventions is grossly inadequate,” said a 2022 Oxfam report on Nigeria.

The report warns that states’ continuous reliance on donor financing of its agricultural sector remains an unrealistic revenue projection.

Despite being a signatory of the Maputo agreement in 2003 to allocate 10 percent of its annual budget to the development of agriculture in a bid to promote food security and maximise growth, the country is yet to comply with the treaty.

At present, the government is faced with reviving a sector challenged by low technology use, poor storage facilities and processing practices as well as inadequate finance.

Available statistics show that Nigeria is one of the least mechanised farming countries in the world with the country’s tractor density put at 0.27 hp/ hectare which is far below the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommended tractor density of 1.5 hp/ hectare.