By Hajara Leman
Gombe State government has commended women farmers in the state over their contributions to boosting food security in the state and country.
Mr Barnabas Malle, the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Cooperatives, gave the commendation while speaking in Gombe on Wednesday at an event to commemorate the 2023 World Food Day in the state.
Malle said that small-scale women farmers had made immense contributions to both the federal and the state government’s efforts at boosting food security and ensuring availability of food in the country.
He said women were critical stakeholders in agricultural value chain and had been helping to process harvested crops to improve the nutrition of households in the state.
The commissioner said that it was in view of such contributions that the state government regarded them as partners in the sector, adding that without women in agriculture, the success so far recorded would not have been possible.
“As you are aware, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya’s administration has prioritised agriculture sector and women are major stakeholders in this administration because of their contributions to the sector.
“Huge sums of money have been allocated and expended on the purchase and distribution of assorted fertilisers, improved seedlings and agro-chemicals and other equipment annually in order to achieve sustainable food availability in the state.
“Women and youths are major partners in progress to this government whose contributions cannot be over emphasised.
“We are aware that the Small- Holder women farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) is one of the associations that empowers women farmer groups.
“The increase of budgetary allocation to smallholder women farmers from N40 million in 2022 to N70 million in 2023 was not a coincidence but a deliberate action to ensure that SWOFON has carried out its mandate conveniently and successfully,” he said.
Malle urged women farmers in the state to continue to put in their best by embracing modern farming techniques and ensure use of improved seedlings in efforts to sustain the successes so far recorded by the government.
Speaking earlier, Mrs Airudia Mamman, the state coordinator of SWOFON, Gombe State chapter, commended the Gov. Yahaya-led administration for prioritising agriculture through the state government’s deliberate intervention in providing farm inputs to farmers annually.
Mamman said that members of SWOFON had played key roles in boosting food production in the state and had been alleviating poverty amongst women in rural areas.
She, however, urged the government to ensure timely release of funds allocated to smallholder farmers in the state annual budget to SWOFON to enable it implement its work plan towards boosting food security and reducing poverty.
According to her, there is the need for the government to increase allocation to agriculture sector and ensure timely release of the budget to meet the 10 per cent Maputo Declaration Commitment on Agriculture and Food Security.
She also urged the government to constitute a gender steering committee which will include SWOFON for the implementation of the Gender Policy in the agriculture sector in a bid to offer equal access and gender- sensitive approaches towards food security.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the 2023 World Food Day which was marked on Monday is, “Water is Life, Water is Food: Leave no One Behind.’’
The event to commemorate the day in the state was organised by the Gombe State chapter of SWOFON, Hope Foundation for the Lonely in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry with support from ActionAid Nigeria.(NAN)
Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo