Kwara women farmers lament lack of access to farmlands

Participants at a consultative meeting on agriculture budget in Kwara State have expressed worry over lack of access to farmlands by farmers, particularly women farmers, in the state.

The group, made up of smallholder women farmers, agric organisations and the state government officials, also observed that there is no specific budget allocation for farmers with disabilities in the agriculture sector.

As part of the communique issued after a one-day meeting in Ilorin, signed by the coordinator, Scaling up Public Investment in Agriculture (SUPIA) budget committee, Mallam Abdurrahman Ayuba, the people urged the state government to increase the agriculture budget to meet with the 10 per cent Maputo/Malabo commitments and declarations.

“Women farmers and youth should be granted access to interest free credit facilities.

“We also recommend specific budgetary allocation for smallholder women farmers in subsequent budget. There should be specific budget line items for them, especially as they are key stakeholders in the sector.

“We advocate that government should make provisions for organic fertilisers which will not only reduce the effect of global warming, but also ensure production of quality agricultural produce.

“Women farmers should increase their advocacy to attract government attention.

“Climate resilience for sustainable agriculture should be budgeted for to support organic farming, mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“All agricultural related activities should be domiciled in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development 2022 budget to ensure transparency.

“We recommend that a budget line should be provided in the 2022 agriculture budget to support smallholder farmers especially women”.

Speaking at the event, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Sabba Gideon, said the meeting could not have come at a better time than now when states, Kwara State inclusive, are on the verge of preparation for the 2022 budget.

The commissioner also said that the gathering would help facilitate conversations amongst key stakeholders connecting the continental framework – the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) targets and Government intentions within the Agricultural Sector in Nigeria.

The consultative meeting was also aimed at strengthening citizens’ participation towards making 2022 agriculture budget responsive for food security and wealth creation.

In his goodwill message at the meeting, the Senior Special Assistant on Non-Governmental Affairs to the state governor, Mrs Toyosi Thomas, described the forum as a great initiative needed to foster collaboration among stakeholders.

“It will help us to be more aware of what each stakeholder is doing and how we can collaborate better towards a greater and better Kwara. Most importantly, it will promote partnerships and accountability. What we will also begin to see with this type of engagement taking place today is greater efficiency , speed, and better results.

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