Stakeholders fault Ondo Govt over Non-compliant Budgetary Allocation for Agriculture

Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have called on the Ondo state government to comply with the allocation of 10 percent of the state budget for agricultural activities in 2023 to boost the economy of the state.

The stakeholders stated this at a consultative forum on the 2023 Ondo state agriculture budget organised by the Justice Development and Peace Centre, JDPC held in Akure the Ondo state capital.

The forum which had in attendance farmers, representatives of the state government, scholars and women involved in farming activities deliberated on the challenges facing the sector in Ondo state and how the challenges could be addressed.

Analysing budgetary allocations for agriculture in Ondo state since 2014, the forum lamented that the state government had failed to comply with the 10 percent in accordance with the Maputo declaration which was adopted by the Heads of States in 2003 and ratified in Malabo by member countries that at least 10percent of annual budget of any local, state and national government should be allocated for developing the agriculture sector for the purpose of accelerating broad-based economic growth.

According to them, reverse has been the case in Ondo state as the agriculture budget of the state still suffers from not meeting up with 10percent which was placed as the least percentage for the agriculture sector annually.

The forum pointed out that despite the potentials of the agriculture sector, there is no serious commitment to spend good money for agriculture development by the state government.

The stakeholders also called on the state government to ensure timely and prompt release of funds for agricultural projects to foster economic growth of the state.

They added that release of funds for projects is ridiculous compared to budget amount.

According to them, average release of capital budget from 2014 – 2019 is just 2.31% of the capital budget.

Reacting, the commissioner for agriculture and forestry, Olayato Aribo expressed government’s readiness to partner with relevant stakeholders in ensuring the growth of agriculture in Ondo state.

He said: “ The much touted food security, employment generation and economic diversification can only be achieved through the sector with our collective effort.”

Also Speaking, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan, acknowledged the impact of agriculture and various challenges facing the sector.

The commissioner however said government was making efforts to address the challenges raised by the stakeholders.

Igbasan said: “The role of Agriculture in reducing rural poverty and empowering our farmers goes
to the heart of our dear Governor.

“At present, poverty and hunger is a major challenge of our time. Over one billion hungry people all over the world can attest to this fact, having been hit by the current hike in food prices and the economic downturn. And of course they are also faced with the growing impact of climate change.

“However, the present administration is set to change the narrative by turning agriculture from subsistence practice to mega businesses generating gainful employment
and wealth for all practitioners.”

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