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April 21, 2024
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No more lip service to supporting women farmers- Presidency

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By Tosin Kolade

Mrs Yejide Ogundipe, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Food Security, says the era of paying lip service towards supporting women farmers in the country is over.

Speaking at an event commemorating the 2024 International Women’s Day organised by the Nigerian Women for Agricultural Progress (NWAP) in Abuja, Ogundipe emphasised the importance of inclusion.

The event, themed ‘Inspire Inclusion’, provided a platform to address key issues surrounding gender equality and inclusivity in the agricultural sector.

She said there was need to end lip service and actively foster genuine support for women farmers in the nation.

Ogundipe highlighted the government’s commitment to eliminating ‘portfolio farmers’ who exploited grants and loans meant for genuine farmers.

“The administration has strategically organised women farmers into cooperatives to ensure they benefit from interventions aimed at reducing food insecurity.’’

She spoke on the urgency of President Bola Tinubu’s state of emergency on food security and outlined various interventions, including partnerships with the Bank of Agriculture to provide farmers access to low-interest loans.

The presidential aide included initiatives for irrigation projects, and collaboration with the Federal Government and the African Development Bank to cultivate 120,000 hectares of wheat across 15 states for dry-season farming.

She said that government was dedicated to making agriculture profitable, especially for women farmers and urged patience as efforts were underway to enhance the profession.

Earlier, Faith Ibrahim, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, said there was need for prioritisation of inclusive agriculture for women.

Ibrahim acknowledged the substantial contribution of women farmers, accounting for 70 per cent to 80 per cent of Nigeria’s food production.

She called for the creation of an enabling environment for the growth of women farmers and enhanced food security.

The professor called for the provision of single-digit loans for women farmers, emphasising the potential for increased productivity with gender-friendly policy frameworks.

Ibrahim said that agriculture played a critical role in growth and poverty reduction.

According to her, the sector’s under-performance can be attributed to constraints faced by women in rural economies.

She stressed the importance of inclusion, advocating for measures such as granting access to funds, lands, and fostering a supportive environment.

Omolara Svensson, the National Coordinator of NWAP, expressed the organisation’s passionate commitment to prioritising agribusiness in Africa to enhance food security, accessibility, and affordability.

She said that the commitment was guided by principles of dignity, discipline and decency and urged the members to conduct themselves with the highest decorum.

“NWAP’s vision is to competently lead the change in agribusiness narratives for Nigerian women, aiming to be the leading light of sustainable progress for African women farmers.

“The organisation strives to create a positive impact by ensuring dignity, decency, and disciplined conduct in the pursuit of agribusiness initiatives across the continent,’’ she said.

Highlight of the event was the formal inauguration of the 36 state coordinators with the mandate of improving the lives of their people. (NAN) www.nannews.ng

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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