ActionAid Nigeria says the state of public financing of agriculture in the ECOWAS member states shows lack of commitment to the Malabo Declaration.
The organiation disclosed this in its 2019 report released to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Azubike Nwokoye, Food and Agriculture Programme Coordinator for Actionaid Nigeria.
It said this lack of commitment was on a minimum of 10 per cent of annual national budgets to agriculture which had negatively influenced overall performance in ECOWAS.
According to the report, agricultural policies in ECOWAS are in compliance with Malabo Declaration but priorities are not leading to performance in the sector.
“To this end, ECOWAS Member States have not been so committed to allocating minimum of 10 per cent of their annual national budgets to agriculture
“While the sub-regional average (2014 – 2018) is 6.6 per cent the committed countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
“The lack of commitment to Malabo Declaration on minimum of 10 per cent of annual national budgets to agriculture has negatively influenced overall performance (poverty, Hunger & resilience to climate change) in ECOWAS.’’
The report also stated that the member states investments in agriculture over the years continued to have large recurrent budget line items instead of capital while the capital component never did 100 per cent.
This it said, shall strengthen their oversight and ensure proper investment in the agriculture sector.
It also recommended that with the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by ECOWAS Member States, there was an urgent need for massive and unprecedented investment in the agriculture sector.
It said this would ensure domestic consumption, rural infrastructural development and export promotion for West Africa to take advantage of the opportunities the AfCFTA offered.
It, however, noted that ECOWAS members states had well-structured and articulated agricultural policy frameworks intended for accelerated agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods, inclusive of smallholder farmers and women.
“What is perhaps needed is the political will and legislative oversight that will ensure that the ECOWAS Members States do not deviate from their commitment on allocation of minimum of 10 per cent to agriculture.’’
Edited & Vetted By: Donald Ugwu