Women group tasks FG over gender-friendly agric policies
A NON-GOVERNMENTAL and human rights organisation, dedicated to the promotion and protection of women’s rights and the rule of law, Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) yesterday canvassed more gender-friendly technologies in Nigeria towards allowing adequate women participation in nation building.
WARDC Executive Director, Dr. Abiola Akiyode, speaking yesterday in Ilorin at a capacity building programme for small-scale
holders women farmers in Kwara state, maintained that the alleged second fiddle role women are made to play in the field of agriculture in Nigeria is incongruous with the recent statistic on agriculture that 70 per cent of those in the ancient profession are women.
Akiyode said at the event jointly organised by WARDC and the United States International Aid for Development, (USAID) that, “over 70 per cent of those who tilled the land today are women but unfortunately, these women are not recognised in Nigeria. We need to attune our mind to this fact so that women in agriculture could be used as agents of change to address the issue of hunger and poverty.
“Besides, our fabricators and agriculture engineers while making their tools for agriculture purposes should be gender sensitive especially to women in mechanised farming. Women should be able to drive tractor to till the land, it is not a muscular thing and nobody is pushing it. We will come up with many other areas of our needs in the course of this programme.”
Already, the WARDC has outlined some of the states of the federation, Osun, Enugu, Benue and Kwara to sensitize the women in agriculture to their underplayed and under utilised capacities” to end famine in the country. She added, “WARDC has over the years worked to further strengthen women’s human rights and advocate for the legislative and policy change that can engender the Nigerian society.
The specific issue of women human rights and developmental concerns are still major challenges in Nigeria. Various governments had made commitments to addressing these challenges of gender imbalance but such commitments have however, not been translated into appropriate actions on issues of health, and education with emphasis on access to and quality of Universal Basic Education (UBE) and agriculture are of major interest to women.
While several governments have made public pronouncements on ensuring that we eradicate poverty and hunger, we have not been able to address poverty.
Women are key to ensuring increase food production and food security.” Noting that women constitute about 50 per cent of the nation’s population, she said such conspicuous human population should not be ignored in driving home the importance of food production, processing, preservation and marketing.
Akiyode said, “the issue of women small holder farmers cannot be separated from the broader issue of gender inequality and discrimination against women. Women are still voiceless in policy issues affecting their lives and they are yet to be involved in decisions that affect their livelihoods and survival.
“Most of the associations speaking for farmers are male led and in fact often exclude women’s contributions. Policy and laws have great role to play in the change process in any society thus this training intends to push for a paradigm shift by enduring that gender approaches are included into agriculture policies and programmes.”