From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
AS part of efforts to promote gender equality and deepen women involvement in agricultural practices, the Federal Government on Thursday launched the National Gender Policy on agriculture.
“This policy would ensure that men and women have equal access and control of productive resources and facilities to bridge gender gaps,” says Mohammad Sabo, the Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development during the event in Abuja.
He disclosed that the document would promote and ensure the adoption of gender sensitive and responsive approaches to engender plans and programmes.
The minister said that the document would provide a policy direction for different roles played by women and men in agricultural development and gender equality access to resources. This, he noted would help realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adding that women make up about 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population and are responsible for carrying out over 70 per cent of agricultural labour.
His words: “The National Gender Policy in Agriculture is expected to drastically reduce the vulnerability of women to biases in agriculture, address the unequal gender power relation and bridge gender gap.
“The policy, when implemented will be a tool for achieving gender – based reforms and increasing productivity by men and women along all the value chains in the sector improves food security, reduces hunger, poverty and sustain the livelihoods of men and women who rely on agricultural value chains for common good.”
The Minister further described the event as a unique platform aimed at contributing to the attainment of the agricultural reforms and development agenda of the present administration.
According to him, the new National Gender Policy in Agriculture is hinged on the National Gender Policy (2006) and Strategic Implementation Framework (2008) as developed by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
“Women are involved in animal husbandry related activities, food processing activities but have access to less than 20 percent of available agricultural resources which is a serious impediment to their maximizing agricultural production and that is why the launch of this policy document is apt.”
Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, in his remark added that the role of women in the agricultural sector cannot be overemphasized as women are involved in processing activities from clearing of the farm, harvesting and packaging of agricultural products.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mohammed Bello, represented by the Director, Special Duties and Gender, Zubairu Abdullahi, stressed that in bringing gender gap in Agriculture Sector, the Ministry apart from pursuing and encouraging the establishment of gender friendly policies, has initiated various women friendly programmes and activities aimed at mainstreaming gender into agricultural activities in collaboration with relevant organizations”.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to the socio-economic empowerment of women and men in the sector. We therefore, acknowledge, acting in line with the Sustainable Development Goals declaration, that gender equality is a prerequisite for eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable human development.’’