From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
Women rural farmers under the aegis of Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), has advised the Federal Government to include women in its policies and budgetary processes in order to achieve its food sufficiency target.
The group warned it would be difficult for the country to end hunger by 2030 except interest of the local farmers are prioritized considering their immense contribution to food security.
The National Publicity Secretary, Smallholders Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), Mrs. Olaleye Janet spoke at an exhibition organized by ActionAid during the recent National Agricultural Show held to commemorate the 2018 World Food Day in Keffi.
She tasked the federal government to issue credit to women farmers at single digit interest rate, removing conditions for collateral and guarantors, thereby making the credit scheme gender friendly.
“Recognising that small holder women farmers, who constitute 60 – 80 per cent of Nigeria’s agriculture labour force are faced with poor access to and control over land, lack of access to government services such as credit, inputs, training and advice, technology and crop insurance, the budget process should be open and participatory for women farmers.
“We need to be included in the planning process especially in the area of agriculture.” she stated.
In terms of budget, the organization demanded for the implementation of the Malabo Declaration where Nigeria joined other member nations to pledge 10 per cent annual budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector.
The group added that, Nigeria being a signatory to laws relating to the advancement of women and gender equality, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR), International Covenant on Social Economic and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) among others, efforts should be focused at protecting women’s interest in agriculture.
“When government say they want to give us support, they pass through the middlemen which we are not really benefitting so much from them. Though, government is doing so much but when they pass it through these men especially in the 36 states, when government brings something, instead of them locating the real farmers, they will locate and give the political farmers,” she stated.
FAO Programme Director for ActionAid, Azubuike Nwokoye, appealed to the federal government to address multiple taxes and facilitate market access for the rural farmers through guaranteed minimum price to avoid post-harvest losses and ensure increased income.
He tasked the government to review customary laws that forbid women from inheriting land especially for agricultural purposes.