The Senate has asked the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to present a supplementary budget to the National Assembly following the destruction of farmlands and crops by the current flooding across the country.
This came as the Bayelsa State government has raised the alarm that this year’s flooding might result in a humanitarian crisis.
The Chairman of, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya, stated this when he led members of his panel on an oversight function to the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
He urged the ministry to ensure full utilisation of the N9 billion released to it so far so that it would be able to plan towards the N17billion due for release soon.
Yahaya said: “You should also make an honest projection on the likely impact of flood, insecurity to food production in the country, and offer advice to the government on how to mitigate it.
“You are expected to come up with a comprehensive programme on how best to tackle flood.
“The National Assembly is committed to supporting the ministry if it decides to present a supplementary budget in this regard.”
On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar told the panel that his ministry had successfully trained and deployed 82,547 extension workers from 2019 to date to aid and promote local farming in Nigeria.
He added that the ministry had also implemented programmes on youth employment in Agriculture, and women in agriculture business development.
Abubakar said the training of the extension officers was designed to reduce the ratio of extension services agents to farmers in line with international best practices for increased production of agricultural commodities in Nigeria.
He said: “The ministry had also engaged in land clearing and development of over 4,000 hectares in collaboration with the state and local governments to reduce rural poverty.
He said the ministry was engaging youth in agriculture for increased production of commodities and to achieve accelerated sustainable development of the economy.
He said over three million direct and indirect jobs had been created through the activities of the ministry in the agricultural sector.
He listed inadequate budgetary provisions as one of the challenges to executing critical projects and programmes that will stimulate national agricultural production.
He said less than two per cent of the national budget was been committed to agriculture as against the 10 per cent agreed by African Heads of state at the Malabo declaration, among other challenges.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State government has raised the alarm that this year’s flooding might result in a humanitarian crisis.
The Commissioner for Environment and chairman of the state’s Task Force on Flood Mitigation and Management, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, who raised the concern yesterday while giving an update on the committee’s activities, said no fewer than 300 communities and villages have either been totally or partially submerged in the state.
Gbaranbiri also disclosed that about 700,000 persons have either been displaced or affected by the flood.
He said virtually all the communities and streets in Yenagoa Local Government Area have also been either submerged or partially flooded.
Communities in five other local government areas namely: Sagbama, Ekeremor, Ogbia, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw were equally seriously affected by the flood.
The Environment Commissioner said there have been reported cases of corpses being washed up at a cemetery, raising concerns of an impending health crisis.