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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Implement Maputo declaration on agriculture - Lawmakers

House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has canvassed for implementation of the African Union (AU) Maputo Declaration, which requires 10 per cent of the member country’s annual budget to be voted for the development of agriculture sector.

The Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Mungono and his Deputy, Alhaji Munir Babba Dan made the House position known to NaijaAgroNet, at a workshop on IAR4D and Innovation Systems Approach for SARD-SC Wheat Value-Chain, in Abuja.

The lawmakers explained that funding of research and development will be ineffective unless there is an established strong partnership with the federal government.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the legislature has not asserted step of legislation and appropriation of the African Union Maputo Declaration of 10 per cent to agriculture, because of the long history of military adventurism into the nation’s polity and the issue of budgeting between the executive and legislature.

According to Mungono “At this point, there is need to cooperate with the executive to at least give 10 per cent of our national budget to agriculture in tandem with the Maputo Declaration.”

Lamenting the over N635 billion spent on wheat importation annually, he said that although oil is a working asset, there was need to diversify the economy through agriculture to create sustainable development and generate employment.

He said that the Maputo Declaration would have been implemented if the House had the veto power, adding that “As a legislator, one of our major functions is appropriation. We assure you that we are going to do everything possible to give you robust funding not only for wheat, but also other crops and especially for research and development.”

Earlier, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina who was represented by Dr Akinbolawa Osho said the wheat value chain was expected to cover a minimum of 33,000 hectare in each of the wheat producing states, adding that about 7,500 improved seeds would be distributed to the farmers in the selected states in an effort to reduce wheat importation at least by 50 per cent.

The selected states include Borno (Ngala and Kirnowa), Taraba (Gembu, Ngoroje), Adamawa (Dasin Hausa), Bauchi (Badel Jama’are, Misau), Jigawa (Hadejia, Chiyeko, Ringim), Plateau (Tahoss), Kano (Kadawa, Bunkure, Alkamawa and Bagwai), Kebbi (Kebbi), Sokoto (Sokoto),  Zamfara (Talata Mafara), Yobe (Gashua)and Gombe (Balanga & Dadinkowa).

The Africa Union Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security of 2003 stated that 10 per cent of national budget should be allocated to agricultural development.
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