In a recent article by Vanguard News, Nigeria it stated that the Gombe State government will spend N2.5 billion (US$15.7 million) on agricultural development in 2014, Dankwambo was said to have announced this while presenting the 2014 budget proposal of N107.4 billion (US$676.6 million) at the State House of Assembly, the move was aimed at boosting food production, employment and income generation.“Being the mainstay of our economy, agriculture provides employment to over 70 per cent of our people.
“It is the vision of this administration to evolve an agricultural sector that promotes mechanised farming and supports the small-holder farmers, to produce enough to feed themselves, … to earn income.”
He said that N193 million(US$1.2 million) would be expended on livestock production, N20 million(US$126,000) on fisheries and N9 million(US$56,700) on the development of forestry in the fiscal year.
Dankwambo noted that the government bought and distributed 40,450 metric tonnes of fertiliser and 220 new tractors to farmers in 2013.
Similarly, the government distributed 65 metric tonnes of improved maize seeds to farmers, while 46 cotton markets were constructed across the state, in the bid to restore the glory of cotton-farming in the state.
The governor said that the government supported flood victims and dry season farmers with 12,000 bags of fertiliser, 500 units of water pumps, and free land preparation. He also said his administration gave ploughs and N100,000(US$630) cash each to 1,140 farmers and trained 200 women in poultry farming.
Dankwambo announced plans by the government to establish an agricultural commodity exchange centre and warehouses, to grade agricultural products.
“The programme shall guarantee good farm-grade prices, and reduce post-harvest losses.
My own thoughts
This is a welcome development in Agriculture in Nigeria and I hope other states budget higher than the 2.33% the Gombe state government is contributing out of their budget to boost food production and support small holder farmers.
If 70% of the population are into Agriculture then funding Agriculture and most importantly providing farmers with agribusiness management education will indeed lift several farming families out of poverty, What do you think? (Put your thoughts in the comments below)