On International Day of Rural Women: Nigerian Women Farmers Need An Intervention

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Women farmers in Nasarawa state got together to advocate for agricultural funds that are tailored for women. In addition, they also asked that there be capacity building programs for women farmers. They made this appeal during the National Agricultural Show which was organized by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The World Bank recently released a study showing that given the same size of land and the same amount of fertilizer, women farmers produced less than the male farmers. The reason for this was because they did not have the same access to resources that the men had.

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There are so many challenges facing women farmers and some of these were listed out by the Women farmers in Nasarawa including lack of funds, poor market access, inadequate storage facilities and undue processes in accessing credits. Some other challenges that we’re not mentioned include poor land rights for women, lack of access to special seeds and ignorance of evolving modern farming techniques.

According to Mrs Lizzy Igbine, the National President, Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association:

“For women, the budgetary funds cannot be accessed and we have problems with undue procedures in accessing bank loans; many banks don’t even grant loans to rural farmers.

“Our lands to them have no value; we cannot use them as collateral and especially as women, land papers were not handed over from our forefathers.

“We therefore, want President Goodluck Jonathan to give grants, especially to women farmers and to help reduce the bottlenecks associated with securing loans in banks.”

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Yesterday was International Day of Rural Women and in Nigeria, rural women are for the most part, farmers. It is important that they should not only be given an ear, but active education and access to resources should be a priority.

One of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is to reduce the number of poor and hungry people by half, which The Food and Agriculture Organization said had already been achieved by Nigeria. However, Prof. Patricia Donli, the Chairman of ActionAid Nigeria disagreed with that assertion and said that there were still a lot of hungry people in Nigeria. She spoke on how the low cultivation of arable land in Nigeria, continuous land grabbing issues and the exclusion of women in agricultural financing, discouraged good income for women farmers.

She, therefore, called for the resuscitation of extension services, restoration of rural infrastructure, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures for an improved agriculture sector.

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According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the National Agricultural Show has been staged annually since 2007 to showcase the abundance agricultural potential across the country. Platforms such as these are vital to the development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria and since rural women supply a good percent of our agricultural consumption, it makes good economic sense to develop and implement policies that are gender inclusive.





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