Federal and state governments have been told to shift attention to irrigation away from rain farming due to the perennial flooding across the country.
The advice was contained in a communique issue at the end of a one-day consultative meeting on 2023 Kwara State Agriculture Budget in Ilorin, the state capital.
The programme was sponsored by the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE) and the Budget Committee Group in collaboration with the Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Smallscale Women Farmers Organization of Nigeria (SWOFON).
“Agriculture and climate change are interwoven. And with the perennial flooding devastating farmlands and animals across the country, its high time effort is shifted from rain farming to irrigation to guarantee food security.
“Government should also consider agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers to keep them in the value chain and increase farming activities during periods like this to stimulate growth and employment,” the agriculture experts added.
The Coordinator of CCEPE, Mr Abdulrahman Ayuba, said the government should make provision for organic fertilizers and other climate friendly inputs that will improve the quality and quantity of farm produce in the country.
While acknowledging the Kwara State government’s increased spending in the agriculture sector from 3.09 per cent in 2021 to 3.5 per cent in 2022, Ayuba said the stakeholders also agreed on the need to increase budgetary allocation to the sector to 10 per cent in line with the Maputo and Malabo declaration.
“Our women farmers must have access to tractors and mechanized farming and clearing their farmlands at discounted rates. Farm roads must be accessible to the market to reduce loss and cost.
“Farmers should explore social investment programmes from the federal government for credit facilities and farm inputs and other beneficial programmes should be targeted to the real farmers as against political farmers,” he added.