Group accuses Delta of neglecting Agric sector

Citing poor allocation to the agricultural sector in Delta State’s 2017 budget, a non-governmental body, Environmental and Rural Mediation Centre (ENVIRUMEDIC), has criticised government’s neglect of the critical sector.

At a meeting to review the state’s 2017 agricultural sector budgetary allocation, the group expressed fears that the price of staple foods could go higher, if government continues to neglect the sector.

While noting that government has neither prioritise agriculture nor the rural women farmers, they warned that with the steady decrease in budgetary allocation to the sector, especially in the 2017 budget, coupled with non-existent loan and extension facilities to rural farmers, the price of foodstuffs could skyrocket.

They noted that agricultural allocation in the state had been on sharp decrease from 2013 to 2017, saying the percentage allocated to the sector from 2013 to 2017 was 2.4 per cent, 1.2 per cent, 3.25 per cent, 0.59 per cent, and 0.45 per cent, respectively.

“And what looked like an increase in 2015 (3.25 per cent) in terms of percentage did not reflect in the actual agricultural sector budgetary allocation for the year and that largely fell below the 10 per cent Maputo Declaration, which mandated all nations to commit at least 10 per cent of total annual budget to agriculture.”

The body urged government to stop “playing politics with the agricultural sector” and to stop rewarding party loyalists with agro based jobs meant for experienced agricultural professionals.

Chief Monday Itoghor, founder of the group, said; “The percentage allocation to agriculture sector in 2017 is worrisome knowing the importance of the sector to the economy, especially with this economic downturn. It is also more worrisome to say that a unit that contains the Smallholders Women Farmers (Mobilisation of Rural Women for Sustainable Agriculture) was not allocated, bearing in mind that majority of food consumed in the state are produced by smallholder farmers, especially women farmers.



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