100 women empowered on climate smart agriculture for economic resilience
To mitigate the growing impacts of climate change and agriculture in the country, not less than 100 local women farmers have been empowered by the International Center for Environmental Health and Development, (ICEHD), on skills in climate smart agriculture, adaptability and innovative farming techniques.
Speaking at a two-day Climate Smart Agriculture Capacity Building Workshop on Climate Justice and Economic Resilience Project for Women held in Abuja, Executive/Project Director, Vision Spring Initiative, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, said that farmers in Nigeria are facing a lot of challenges due to poor farm yields caused by climate change with women bearing the brunt of it.
According to her, women farmers have little access to information on climate change mitigation compared to their male counterpart hence the need for more robust partnership between Civil Society Organizations, (CSOs), government and the media to create needed awareness on the devastating impacts of climate and how it affects farmers especially women who produce the larger portion of the food consumed in the country.
She pointed that the empowerment of female farmers in this regard requires tooling them with necessary mitigation and adaptive knowledge as well as providing critical farm input that would boost productivity and farm yields thereby ensuring food security. “We interviewed farmers and all of them are saying that climate change has affected farm productivity and a lot of the women farmers do not know how to efficiently use pesticides and can no longer afford the price of fertilizers that is why we felt that we need to make their issues public, intervene by educating them on some of these things and also support them with some farm inputs like fertilizers, sprinklers, knapsack sprayers, herbicides and pesticides among others.
This is a two-year project and we are targeting 200 women across the six geopolitical zones with this intervention but we are currently working with 100 women by sharing farm input and implement as well as the requisite knowledge. Some of these women farmers have no forum to speak about their challenges so we decided to be their voice and speak these issues to stakeholders and the government,” she said.
While highlighting the key targets of the project, Country Manager, Rose of Sharon Foundation (RoSF) and co-convener of the workshop, Dr. Ndudi Bowei, said the workshop is geared at tackling the problems of climate change that is disproportionately affecting women as against men by creating access to climate justice through fair approaches in climate change initiatives, programmes and policies of government in Nigeria. Bowei noted that, “the major thing this project seeks to do is to enable women farmers address climate change problems through training and capacity building, access to resources and ownership of land while also having access to funding for their agricultural activities.”
She said the challenge of gender inequality is one that is seen in agriculture even access to knowledge and skill in climate change mitigation and adaption as men have more access to training, education on adaptability than women. “We know that in Africa and in Nigeria, 80 percent of agricultural activities are in the hands of women yet women have less than 20 percent benefit from agriculture and that is one key thing we are trying to address through the capacity workshop,” she said.
While commending the organizers of the event on the type of intervention they have chosen for women farmers, Comfort Eze of the Gender desk of the Nigerian Institute of Soil said that the composition of fertilizers chosen for the for women, is one that is multipurpose due to its composition. She explained that the training is all encompassing as it also takes cognizance of the explaining the importance of understanding soil nature and application of fertilizers and use of basic farm input for better yield.