Proposed 2018 Budget: Chamber Of Commerce Calls For Equitable Sharing Of N118.98bn Agric Allocation

Senator Bukola Saraki

THE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for an equitable distribution of the N118.98 billion allocated to agriculture and rural development in the proposed 2018 budget.

Mr Adeola Elliot, Chairman of LCCI’s Agric Group, made the call in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari presented N8.6 trillion 2018 Federal Budget to the National Assembly on Nov. 7.

Elliot said that appropriate fund should be earmarked for each aspect of agric value chain ranging from land, seeds, livestock, feeds, chemical inputs, storage, processing, marketing and distribution.

“The agric process is a chain and the appropriate thing which we are advocating for is equitable sharing along the chain.

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“If you do not have the right seed, you cannot get the right crops, if the land is not good and you till it, the seed would go bad.

“Because it is a chain, it is a long process. If there is a discordant, there would be a break along the process and you will not get the desired results,’’ he said.

According to him, parts of the fund should also be targeted at training, adding that building capacity of extension workers and the farmers would improve quality and quantity of produce.

He urged the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and Bank of Industry (BoI) to complement the process through effective and fast disbursement of loans to genuine farmers.

Elliot commended the allocation of 30.8 per cent of the 2018 budget to capital projects, adding that agriculture required quality infrastructure to thrive and promote economic growth.

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