SWOFON, Budget Committee Demands Separate Budget-line for Women Farmers

SWOFON, Budget Committee Demands Separate Budget-line for Women Farmers

Towards addressing food sufficiency in the country, a group under the umbrella of Small Scale Women Farmer Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) and budget committee has called for a separate budget line for the women farmers in Ebonyi State.

Ebonyi State Budget Committee Group is a group of NGOs working on agriculture issues in collaboration with SWOFON to ensure food security.

In a press briefing, the Ebonyi State Budget Committee and SWOFON observed that the 2024 Agriculture budget for Ebonyi State is 4.11% of the total State Budget, which is still a far cry from the 10% benchmark of the Maputo Declaration, they argued that it is the third lowest percentage allocation to the agricultural sector in Ebonyi state since 2015 and goes to show the non-commitment of the state to the development of the agriculture sector.

The group while commending Governor Francis Nwifuru for increasing credit facilities to farmers in the state for the fiscal year noted that creating a separate budget line for the smallholder women farmers would benefit mostly farmers in the rural areas and by so increase their farm produce.

“We commend the State Government for the increased allocations to credit facilities to Ebonyi farmers in the 2024 budget cycle.

“We recommend that there should be specific budget allocation to smallholder women farmers separate from youth to address their specific needs rather than lumping them together in the same budget line.

“Ebonyi State Government should urgently increase the allocation for purchase of Farm inputs such as Organic fertilizers, improved seedlings and chemicals and subsidize same for farmers across the state.

“Enhanced legislative oversight of the sector: The State House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture needs to enhance its oversight functions and mandate over the management of public funds in the sector to guarantee greater value for money and ensure the total and timely releases of funds allocated.

“Enhanced smallholder women farmers organizations and civil society organizations participation in the budget process: Smallholder women farmers and Civil Society Organizations need to be involved and participate in the sector’s budget preparation, approval, monitoring and evaluation processes.

” The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security should create a forum for consultation as part of the budget preparation processes by organizing a stakeholders consultative meeting on the budget before a budget call for circulars.

Correspondent reports that the Small Scale Women Farmer Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) is a coalition of women farmers across Nigeria working together to promote women-friendly agricultural policies and increase women’s access to land, farm inputs and funding, aimed at improving agricultural productivity.

In Ebonyi State, the group have consistently engaged the state government through the legislators and the executive arm.

While Ebonyi Budget Committee Group carries out annually an analysis of the agriculture budget of the State and has analyzed the Approved Ebonyi State 2024 Agriculture budget for the recommendations.

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