The present government of Nigeria is led by a new political party and leadership – the All Progressive Congress (APC), with a slogan of ‘change’. The party’s vision of economic revival (especially against the backdrop of downward fortunes occasioned by slide in oil revenue) is anchored on agriculture and solid minerals sectors. For this purpose, majority of Nigerians believe that agriculture which used to be the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the evolution of oil would be given adequate and special attention. Although every state in Nigeria has capacity to utilize agriculture as a sector for economic sustenance, the three States of Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau located in the North central zone of Nigeria could be deemed to be outstanding and perhaps regarded as the ‘food basket of the nation’. This assertion is owing to the high volume of food and other agricultural produce that are harvested from these states and which makes the states a gathering point for marketing and distribution of food stuffs. In this regard therefore and coupled with the fact that these three states are controlled by the APC, observers are of the expectation that budgetary allocation to and overall investment in agriculture would be given a prominent place.
Since 2010, NANTS has been running an observatory on the annual budgets of the federal government of Nigeria, particularly on the agriculture and trade sectors of the economy. The successive analysis of budget proposals have before now been limited to the federal annual budgets; however, for the year 2016, the decision to extend such analysis to the State levels for follow up advocacy was taken, especially to ensure coherence or otherwise between the Federal and State level budgets for the agricultural sector. In so doing, the three (3) States of the North Central zone which serves as the popular food channel were selected as the starting point, thus, giving rise to this appraisal. However, given the insurgency that has been ravaging the North East of Nigeria for over six years, and has scattered citizens who are predominantly farmers from their domains, one State in the North East (Bauchi State) was further selected in this analysis so as to create a balanced appraisal of impact of insurgency in the North East and government’s budgetary measures to possibly address the food security challenge.