A coalition of women groups in Nasarawa State on Monday, October 17, 2022, demanded for advancement of priority needs of small holder women farmers in the state to boost food production and improve their socio-economic status.
The groups presented their needs in a press briefing organised in Lafia, the state capital, by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in collaboration with Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) to mark World Food Day.
Other partners are Young Men’s Christian Association’s Community Based Agriculture Extension Support Services, Association of Small-Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), and Community Based Women Farmers Organisations with support from Oxfam in Nigeria.
Mrs Juilet Sarki, SWOFON Treasurer, said that small scale women farmers had been faced with numerous challenges that hampered their productivity and livelihoods.
According to her, Nigeria agricultural labour force is dominated by women farmers who constituted more than 70 per cent of entire agriculture labour force and actively involved in almost every aspect of the agriculture value chain.
She explained that women farmers who had been dedicated and committed in ensuring that there was food security in Nasarawa State by contributing significantly to the availability, affordability and accessibility of food had faced myriad of challenges.
She listed the challenges to include poor access and ownership of farmlands by women, rising insecurity, difficulties in accessing micro credits, loans and subsidies to improve their production.
The women farmer groups solicited creation of special intervention fund accessible to women farmers, provision of farm inputs, fertilisers, agro chemicals, improved seeds and seedlings.
Others are provision of gender friendly equipment for women farmers, training and retraining of women farmers on climate change adaptation strategies and disease outbreaks, recruitment of extension officers to facilitate the adoption of innovation.
Mrs Sarki said that, if the demands put forward to the state government were responded to, it would go a long way in addressing the current food shortages faced in the country thereby ensuring availability of food in the future and safeguarding the livelihoods of women.
“Women’s role in the agriculture sector is significantly affected by socio economic factors, for the sector to advance in Nasarawa State, gender -specific policies and services tailored to women should be developed and implemented.
“The budget should address their challenges and the Nigeria gender policy in agriculture should be fully domesticated and implemented, Nasarawa State journey to food security is a collective effort of all stakeholders,” she said.
The World Food Day is observed on every Oct. 16 to highlight the millions of people worldwide who cannot afford a healthy diet and the need for regular access to nutritious foods.
This year’s theme of the day is “Leave no one behind”.
By Oboh Linus