Group canvasses gender-friendly agricultural policy
A coalition of women farmers under the Smallholder Women Farmers in Nigeria (SWOFON), has called on the Federal Government to provide them subsidised seedlings, fertilizer and gender-friendly equipment for agriculture in the country.
It has also organised 37,000 cooperatives across the six geo-political regions, to collectively apply to relevant government ministries, demanding equity in agricultural production.
The National President, Mary Afan, told The Guardian in Abuja that despite that women account for 72 per cent of the agricultural labour force, they are disadvantaged in terms of accessing farm inputs, like fertilizers and others.
She added that some of the challenges, which impede women farmers’ ability to increase production to include gender-friendly equipment (like power tillers and hand planters).
She said: “The Federal Government recognises these facts in its recently launched National Gender Policy on Agriculture, and SWOFON, is an association of over 500,000 rural farmers spread across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.”
Explaining further, she maintained that they welcome Mr. President’s goal of drastically reducing the vulnerability of women to biases in farming, bridge gender gaps, and also address the unequal gender power relations in the sector.
Afan said: “With the National Gender Policy on Agriculture, today, there are 379,172 smallholder women farmers, who are organised into cooperatives across six geo-political zones through relevant ministries for a better deal.”
She also noted that dependence on human power has over the years contributed to low agricultural productivity, and is directly responsible for the huge poverty rate being experienced.
“Smallholder women farmers are forced to source farm inputs from the open market at a higher overall cost, because of the gender inequality inherent in the distribution of fertilizers and improved seedlings.”
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