Chris Steven, Abuja
The OXFAM Nigeria has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to match his words with action about diversifying the nation’s economy into agriculture by increasing the budgetary allocation to agriculture.
The international organisation specifically asked the federal government to increase the allocation to agriculture in the 2017 budget to the agreed benchmark of 10 percent of the total budget.
Speaking at the 2016 World Food Day organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Coordinator of Research, Policy and AdvocacyOXFAM, Abdulazeez Musa said that the Federal Government in 2003 was part of the treaty in Maputo, Mozambique to increase agriculture budget to 10 percent .
He said that the time to fulfil such commitment is now that the country is passing through economic recession which agriculture has proved to be a very potent area of diversification.
His words : ” Our wish and our prayer is that we want the Federal Government to increase budgetary allocation to agriculture in the 2017 budget. In as much as what we have in the 2016 budget is not where we wanted the budget to be , we are hopeful that we have learnt some experiences, some lessons from this year budget.
We want the government to increase the next year budget to at least a minimum of 10 percent. By the way, this 10 percent we are talking about , government has promised to do that in 2003 in Maputo with other African Heads of State and it was renewed in Malabo. It is just demanding that government meets up with its commitment”
Musa also urged the Federal Government to prioritise the needs of rural farmers noting that the over 20 billion dollars being spent on the importation of rice could be invested in local production of rice .