In order to achieve food security and reduce poverty, the Nigerian government on Thursday launched the ‘National Gender Policy on Agriculture’ in Abuja.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said it is time for women to be prominent in the agriculture sector.
Mr Nanono said the policy was to enhance the equality of access to resources for both genders as well as provide equal opportunities of livelihood while progressively realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
”The goal of the gender policy is to ensure equal opportunities and access to resources, services and agricultural programmes in Nigeria regardless of gender as a means of providing economic security growth in Nigeria,” he said.
“It is important to note that women make up about 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population and are responsible for carrying out 70 per cent of agricultural labour, 50 per cent of animal husbandry related activities and 60 per cent of food processing activities but have access to less than 20 per cent of available agricultural resources which is a serious impediment to them,” he added.
He complained about ”the reluctant attitude of women towards education and research in Nigeria”.
“Women possess the characteristics of researchers but they are few in research institutions,” he said. “How do women educate the children they gave birth to?”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Abdullahi Adamu, advised the women ”to stand up and face their challenges”.
“You must stand up and seize the opportunity. Sometimes, women do not even respond to their own event,” he said.
In 2015, PREMIUM TIMES reported how the African Development Bank said women contribute close to 70 per cent of the agricultural work-force.
A female farmer, Veronica Balogun, appealed to the government to implement the gender policy rather than the “usual paperwork”.
She said if followed, the outcome will be beneficial to the economic growth of Nigeria.
“As a farmer, this is what I need to increase the output from my farm. They should not allow the programme to go like that,” she said.
Another farmer, Alice James, said this (policy) will help in caring for the farmers
She said ”when the policies are implemented, life will be easier for women farmers in Nigeria”.
Also, Agnes Omolele appreciated the efforts of the government by providing policies that will transform the agricultural sector.
She also expressed fear ”the policy will not last for a long time in Nigeria”.
“We are grateful for this policy but we hope it will continue,” she said.