Abuja, Aug. 12, 2013 (NAN) The Federal Government has been urged to commit 23 per cent of its annual budget for 10 years to agriculture in order to make serious impact in the sector.
The Programme Coordinator of Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE), MrPeter Egwudah, made the call in Abuja on Monday at a news conference to mark the International Youth Day 3013.
He said in order to meet the targets of the Vision 20:2020, agriculture needed to grow at an annual rate of 10 per cent.
“It will make the economy to grow at eight per cent rate necessary to become one of the 20 largest economies by 2020”, he said.
Egwudah contended that the country’s budgetary allocation to agriculture was not enough, adding that it had to do more to meet global target.
He urged government to invest massively in agriculture, in accordance with the 2003 Maputo Declaration.
The declaration states that a minimum of 10 per cent of each country’s national budget must be allocated to the sector.
The programme coordinator advised that attention should be given to youths to promote small scale agriculture.
He called for the implementation of the 10 per cent Maputo Declaration as well as the passage of the Right to Food Bill by the National Assembly.
According to him, “Nigeria’s agricultural policy thrust should have small scale farmers as its centre piece.”
The Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Youth and Student Matters, Mr Jude Imagwe, said youths must not depend solely on the government to realise their dreams.`
`We all have dreams, we must not wait on the government to come and fulfil these dreams for us. We must learn to use the time we have now to do what we will be remembered for.`
`We must not leave everything at the mercy of the government; it is a collective effort’’, he said.
A musician, Innocent `Tuface” Idibia, called on youths to embrace agriculture as a means of contributing to the nation’s socio-economic development.
Idibia, who suggested ”massive reorientation” among the youths, said people must begin to appreciate what they do as well as ensure legitimacy in the works of their hands.`
`We must try and make impact in whatever we choose to do. Youths need massive reorientation. They need to understand that making illegitimate money is not the way forward. Instead, they should cultivate self-discipline.`
`We must create the change we need; believe in dignity of labour and take pride in what we do.`
`I and my uncle have a farm we are managing and we (Benue) are proud to be the food basket of the nation”, he said.
Idibia, one of the GROW Ambassadors, called on the federal government and corporate bodies to assist in financing the agricultural sector.
NAN reports that ‘GROW’ is fresh and young brains development initiative, in collaboration with Oxfam that advocates an increase in public investments in small scale agriculture.
It is also aims to increase children and youth participation in agriculture through advocacy and campaign strategies.
NAN reports that the event attracted more than 30 participants from various CSOs and NGOs from around the country, with the theme,
“Youth migration, moving development forward.’’