Chima Azubuike, Gombe state.
Esther Gibson, Financial secretary of Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON)
Gombe state chapter, has called for an increase of budgetary allocation to agriculture, facilities and inputs and access to grants especially to small holder women farmers.
Gibson, disclosed this today at a one day stakeholders consultative meeting on Public Financing of Agriculture, 2020 budget organized by Hope for the lonely, in Gombe state.
She noted that SWOFON aims at catalyzing increased quantity and improved public investment in agriculture through enhanced citizen’s participation in policy making with the view to increase the productivity and well being of small holder women farmers, their households and communities in the state.
Gibson said “Women Farmers constitutes 70-80% of population of farmers in Nigeria. We advocate adequate and timely release of N30 Million allocated Support for small women farmers. Inclusion of women farmers in farm inputs, restructuring of cultural restrictions on women inheritance of land” she added.
Asiya Isuwa, executive director of Hope for the Lonely has called for release of N30 million fund budgeted for Small Holder Women Farmers in the 2019 Gombe state State budget. He said “This is a routine we have on annual basis. We engage women farmers both at the LGA’s on how to improve their contributions to the internally Generated Revenue in terms of Agriculture. We have partnership with SWOFON which extends across the state. The N30 Million, did not come by accident, it as a result of years of advocacy. It is not just the approval but the timely release that is important. We hope that before the end of rainy season the funds will be in their hands” he noted.
Meanwhile, Bashama Yusuf, member of Gombe state Budget Committee, also called on citizens of the state to hold ministries and agencies accountable and to make demands based on their needs. He said
“We acknowledge the fact that Gombe state government has in 2019 created a budget line for Small holder women farmers for the first time in the history of the state. Our major concern is how the funds can be accessed and how can citizens be involved in the budget process in the grassroots. At the LGA level how is the concern of the people captured. So that at the end of the day, we have value for money and outcomes that are citizens specific and not vague result” he added.
The permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Barr. Abel Yaji, pointed out the resolve of the ministry to assist women farmers in Gombe state. He said “Agriculture contributes to the GDP of the Nation. It has three (3) sectors, Crop, Fisheries and Livestock. At the state level we have been able to give women and youths due consideration but We are faced with the challenge of non release of funds. At the end of this meeting, we should be able to know what to do” he noted.