By Emeka Nwaokocha
Warri/Nigeria: ActionAid Nigeria has said that development of the agricultural sector in Delta State is key in engendering socioeconomic growth of the peoples of the state, even as it commended the Budget Committee Group (BCG), a Delta State based non-governmental organization, for ensuring transparency in the implementation of budgetary allocations to the agricultural sector in the state.
ActionAid Public Financing for Agriculture International Project Manager, Constance Okeke, made the statement, Thursday 13th July, 2017, during an interactive session with the Budget Committee Group, and Delta Economic Litracy Budget Accountability Group, (DELBAG), held at ENVIRUMEDIC head office in Warri. Among topical issues given prominence at the session were a review of the activities, achievements and action plans of BCG with a view to enhancing its operations.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the session, Okeke said that the interactive session availed her team the opportunity of assessing the activities of the Budget Committee Group, itemizing the progress it has made so far in growing the agriculture sector, and noting the posing challenges with a view to improving its operations.
Expressing satisfaction at the interactive session, Okeke said BCG was doing a great job in its advocacy and monitoring of government activities in the agriculture sector, despite the hiccups occasioned by meager resources. Continuing, she assured that ActionAid would continue to work with the Budget monitoring platform to push for more resources for the agriculture sector and ensuring that Delta State government lives up to her responsibility in the provision of enabling environment and support for development of agriculture in the state, and improving the livelihood of the rural farmers especially the women farmers.
Recalling her visit to Oghorigbala, a riverine community in Ughellli south local government area of the state, Okeke lamented the deplorable condition the people live in. Noting that due to the poor state of the major access road to the community, people go through the ordeal of accessing the community by canoe. She stated that the peasant farmers, mostly women in the community bitterly complained that large quantity of their farm produce always rot away because they could not transport them to neighbouring communities for sale.
The ActionAid Manager called on the government of Delta State to visit Oghorigbala community and urgently address the infrastructure need of the people in order to improve their socioeconomic live. She said “our women live in the hinterland and their children depend on them for a livelihood. Therefore, if they (women) are not provided the enabling environment to lead a meaningful life, it will amount to engendering poverty which does not promote human development in a democratic society.”
Okeke stated that ActionAid would encourage sustainable development in Delta State by giving support to the Budget Committee Group to ensuring unfettered advocacy on public financing of agriculture, and building capacity of federation of farmers groups in the state; enlightening the stakeholders of the agriculture sector on the dynamics of government policies; enabling improvement in public financing of agriculture; and empowering small holders’ farmers’ groups, especially the women.
Constance Okeke, was accompanied by Azubike Nwokoye and Blessing Akhile, both officers of ActionAid Nigeria.
Also present was Chief Monday Itoghor, of the ENVIRUMEIC.