Women farmers, youths seek access to credit, land to improve production
The Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association has appealed to the government at all levels to grant women in agriculture access to land in order to improve production.
Mrs Lizzy Igbine, the National President of the association, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.
She bemoaned the inability of women to own land and use it as collateral to access agricultural loans in commercial banks.
According to her, agriculture is better with women and the roles of women have promoted agriculture.
“Women can access inputs but we are still fighting for credits because credits start with legalising our land.
“There is no title to our farmlands; so, if there is recognition that our farmlands can be used as collateral, it will be much easier for women to be given access to credit or loans by commercial banks.
“We have not yet achieved access to land. My advice to government is for them to look into the issue of agricultural land, especially for women.
“Women should have the right to get land in the communities where they are from or where they reside and those lands should be recognised as valid collateral for any loan.
“If the government makes this a policy, it will be easier for women farmers to increase production,’’ she said.
Also speaking, Mrs Nkiruka Nnaemego, the Chief Executive Officer of the Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative, a youth organisation, suggested that agricultural land should be given to youths as incentives to attract them to go into farming.
She noted that most youths in agriculture did not have access to subsidised inputs.
“ We are advocating that land should be given as incentives or gifts to young people to get involved in agriculture; the same with technology and access to markets.
“Government can really do more. Most times, people forget that small-scale farmers are also young people; issues like access to inputs, mentoring and storage facilities are not worked for young people.
“We need to look at how to develop rural silos at the community level and we ought to look at crop processing.
“There is so much emphasis on production. We need to look beyond production and look more at processing, packaging and branding so that we can look at how we can export our produce outside the country,’’ she said.
NAN reports that the initiative is a non-governmental organisation that wants to stimulate positive change, promote social responsibility, environmental sustainability and a spirit of volunteerism in the society.