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How Buhari, Jonathan, Obasanjo govts failed Nigeria on key agric funding treaty

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Seventeen years after the African Union passed the Maputo Declaration of 2003, which among other things stipulates the allocation of 10 per cent of federal budgets to development of agriculture, Nigeria is yet to implement the agreement.

This is in spite that the Nigerian government signed the agreement in 2003, after which the National Assembly ratified it on 16 December 2004.

African Heads of State and Government passed the declaration at the Second Ordinary Assembly of the AU in Mozambique in July 2003 to promote food security and maximise tangible growth in agriculture.

All but three member-countries of the AU (Botswana, Egypt and Morocco) endorsed the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.”

An AU report titled “High-Level Consultation on the Ratification of the Maputo Protocol” said the protocol entered into force in 2005 with member nations expected to reach ratification, full domestication and implementation by 2020.

Currently, out of the 55 AU member states, 40 have ratified the Maputo protocol, with South Sudan the latest to do so.

The declaration contained several significant resolutions, prominent among which is the commitment of at least 10 per cent of national budgetary allocation to agriculture and rural development from within five years of the Declaration.

However, since the treaty was signed, Nigeria has never met the target set for funding agriculture in Africa.

Stephen Ajala, the Head of Department of Food Engineering at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), said Nigeria does not implement international agreements.

“Almost all agreements, MoU etc signed by the government of our country are not implemented,” he said.

Mr Ajala told this newspaper that 10 per cent of the national budget or more can be allocated to the agriculture sector if there is a willingness on the part of the government.

“However, you know everything is politicised here, such allocation would be hijacked by the politicians for selfish reasons,” he said.

Checks by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that in 2003 when the pact was signed, budgetary allocation to agriculture was N18.05 billion, representing a measly 1.85 per cent of the national budget of N976.3 billion.

Between 2004- 2007, allocations to the agricultural sector relative to total national budget fell to 1.46 per cent in 2004, then to 1.14 per cent in 2005, before it went up to 1.62 per cent and 1.69 per cent respectively in the next two years.

Nigeria recorded the highest budgetary allocation to its agricultural sector in 2008 and 2009.

The 2008 budget allocated 5.41 per cent (N134.90 biĺlion) of the N2.4 trillion total to agriculture. The N166.90 billion allocated to the sector in 2009 was 5.38 per cent of the N3.1 trillion national budget.

Least allocation

In 2015, agriculture drew the least budgetary allocation with only 0.9 per cent of the N4.49 trillion total.

Also, between 2016 –2019, Nigeria budgeted 1.25, 1.82, 2.01 and 1.50 percent of the N6.10, N7.44, N8.61 and N8.92 trillions total respectively .

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