Stakeholders in agriculture in Kogi state have called for more budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector in order to boost food security and economic development.
The call was made at the Kogi State Consultative Meeting on the Kogi State 2024 Agriculture Budget held in Lokoja, on Tuesday.
The forum was organised by the Kogi State Budget Committee Group and Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) in collaboration with the Kogi State Ministry of Agriculture with support from Action Aid Nigeria.
The forum also called for the timely release of money meant for the agricultural sector and effective implementation of the budget by the state government, as they sought citizens’ participation in budgetary processes.
In his welcome address, Matthias Okpanachi, chairperson of the Kogi Budget Committee Group, said that the meeting is aimed at stimulating development in agriculture, presentation of 2023 agric budget analysis to stakeholders for comparison so as to know where we started and where we are going as well as what is expected of government to move agriculture to the next level of development.
Rukayat Ahmed, Kogi State coordinator of SWOFON, while speaking during the meeting, called for elaborate participation of women in agriculture, adding that the release of money meant for women in the agricultural budget would enable them to make more impact in carrying out agriculture activities.
She maintained that women have a greater role to play in ensuring food sufficiency and economic growth of the state just like their male counterparts, and as such, need to be encouraged.
Bello George, managing director of the Kogi Agricultural Development Project, in his contributions, said that stakeholders need to do more in the upliftment of agriculture to boost food production.
He said that Kogi is not effectively utilising resources at its disposal to develop agriculture and solicited government and citizens’ efforts to aid agriculture.
George commended women farmers in their efforts to join hands with the government to provide enough food for the people, stressing that women farmers are doing very well.
He noted that agriculture is of greater value to any nation worldwide as it is capable of providing employment for the youths and boosting the nation’s dwindling economy.
In attendance during the meeting were representatives of the Kogi Assembly Committee on Agriculture, SWOFON, Ministries of Agriculture, Budget and Planning, Commerce and Cooperatives, as well as Civil Society Organisations.