By Abel Leonard Nzwanke
Nasarawa State stakeholders in agriculture have called on the State Government to increase its budgetary allocation to the sector to 10 percent in line with the Maputo declaration.
They made the appeal in a communiqué issued at the end of a 1-day workshop on “Agriculture Budget Priorities” for Nasarawa State, organised by Oxfam Nigeria, in Keffi.
According to Daybreak news the communiqué read by Mr Joshua Jonathan, President of the Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), on behalf of other stakeholders, noted that increased allocation and funding to the sector would enhance economic development and food security.
They also demanded for the inclusion of small holder farmers in the agricultural budget process in order to capture their needs and address their priorities.
The stakeholders also stressed the need for the recruitment, training and retraining of extension workers in the state to augment the 100 currently serving them.
They also encouraged the Nasarawa Agricultural Development Programme to collaborate with professional organisations, research institutes and non-governmental organisations to build the capacity of extension workers to impact on the production of small holder farmers.
Similarly, the stakeholders urged the state government to encourage farmers to engage in dry season farming by providing water pumps and and other infrastructure.
They maintained that irrigation farming was more profitable than rain-fed farming in the quest for sustainable food security.
Other areas of intervention sought by the stakeholders from the state government included improved technology farm inputs, proper guidance on how to access available credit facilities.
Also of concern to them was the need for the state government to make concerted effort through appropriate legislation to provide land for women and youth farmers in the state.
The group also encouraged the state government to upgrade all the seven grazing reserves in the state to boost livestock production.