AN agriculture expert, Dr Ismail Olawale, has called for increased budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector as the 2024 Appropriation Bill is before the House of Assembly.
Olawale, a fellow at the National Agriculture Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
He said that food security could not be guaranteed if there was insufficient budget for the agriculture sector.
“Following the change of name to Ministry of agriculture and Food Security by the present administration, we expected the change of name to reflect with the provisions for the sector in the 2024 Appropriation Bill.
“Unfortunately from what is being proposed for the agriculture sector even before the approval of the 2024 budget, we have begun to doubt if we are going to get the best out of the sector.
“However, the present administration has done well so far in the implementation of policies for the sector.
“In early November, there was a launch of the harmonised version of agricultural extension, which is the first ever.
“However, if policies are being launched and there is no provision in the budget to run or implement them, we can equip our farmers adequately for food security and adoption of new technologies.
“As implementers of government policies, we do hope that there will be appropriation of more funds or additional budget for the sector.’’
The expert also restated the need to seek more allocations for the sector via international collaborations and funding.
He said the extension services did not get a good share of the budget, it would be difficult to equip the farmers to attain food security.
“To augment the budget for the sector, we can leverage on our collaboration and partnership with international organisation and rightly appropriate the funds.
“If we are strategic enough to put the collaboration funds to good use, we might be able to bridge the gap of budget deficit in the sector.
“The fear is that do we have the mechanism on ground for the drivers of the sector to be responsible for their actions and probity?
“The issue is that when the fund comes, will it trickle down to the appropriate sub-sectors?” the expert queried. (NAN)
December 11, 2023 @ 16:57 GMT|Tags: Dr Ismail Olawale