Minister of Women Affairs Moves To Empower Women Farmers —Sen. Aisha Alhassan

Nigerian women have been called upon to revisit the strategies that will strengthen and empower them particularly in the area of policy and in the agricultural value chain.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan stated this at a national discussion on small holder women farmers in Nigeria.

Mrs. Alhassan who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Binta Bello, said the sector is non-the-less under performing in Nigeria because largely, women who are often a crucial resource in agriculture and the rural economy, face constraints that negatively impact on their productivity.

Mrs Bello said ”in some areas and communities, women are often not recognized as farmers and so, face widespread restrictions on decision making about the basic resources for production I.e., land, access to productivity-enhancing inputs such as credit, fertilizer, improved seeds and extension services and control over the produce resulting from their labour and other investments.”

She added that women’ s ability to produce enough food is further hampered by the physically exhausting labour and drudgery, associated with crude farming practices that have remained unchanged for generations.

Mrs. Bello said the ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center was organizing the dialogue to set the agenda for agricultural stakeholders in order to improve their practical commitment towards greater participation of women in agricultural programmes.

In her address, the executive director, women advocates research and documentation center (WARDC), Dr Abiola Akinyode Afolabi said that discussion on small holder women farmers provides another great opportunity to critically examine the issues of women farmers especially small holder women farmers represent about half of Agricultural labour in Nigeria.

"They produce the bulk of the food for domestic consumption and that they provide about 80 percent of the labour in processing and marketing of Agriculture produce. yet they retain less than 25 percent of the earning from Agriculture, hence the perpetuation of poverty and hunger in Nigeria".

She said that women farmers are also segregated in farmers associations where executive positions are still dominated by men and women are still been led or connected to the associations through women leaders shows that the time for change has come as in the political space.

Source: ORIH CHIBUIKE, The Nigerian Voice, Abuja
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