Friday Olokor, Abuja
The Nigerian Senate has called for support and input from stakeholders on possible legislative actions to better the lives of Nigerians out of the economic recession.
The Senator representing Lagos Central and chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Oluremi Tinubu, made the demand on Thursday evening in Abuja, during a policy dialogue with the theme: “Roadmap to an inclusive policy option for female Smallholder farmers in Nigeria Agricultural sector”, organised by Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Centre in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development.
The event was to examine existing agricultural policies as it relates to women farmers and promoting the linkage between Sustainable Development Goals and gender inclusive agricultural sector.
According to her, the Senate was committed to ending hunger and poverty, ensuring welfare of the women, diversification of the economy and a better Nigeria for all..
Tinubu said; “We call for support and input from stakeholders on possible legislative actions to better the lives of Nigerians as a whole. As a nation, we must invest in food production. We must also invest in man-power to get maximum results.
“Overall, women’s access to land is restricted, owing to the fact that our society is patriarchal and in certain cases prohibits women from owning landed property. This has a direct effect on poverty rates. We cannot talk about empowering our citizens to undertake agricultural work without stressing the role that women play in food production and processing.”
She stated that a vast number of Nigerian farmers especially in the rural areas were women, whose productivity are often restricted due to cultural norms and values.
The Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, warned that the burden of poverty and hunger in the society would persist if the efforts of women farmers were not recognised..
She added that while several governments have made public pronouncements on ensuring that poverty and hunger are eradicated, the country has not been able to address poverty even though they are key to ensuring increase food production and food security.
Akiyode-Afolabi “Women, no doubt constitute about 50 per cent of the population and if women efforts are not recognised in the agricultural sector, the society might not be able to address the huge burden of hunger and poverty,
“Despite these enormous tasks, they have limited access to land, credit facilities, farm inputs, training and advice, technology and crop insurance among other things. Most importantly, they are poorly represented in agricultural sector and spaces. Thus lacking voice, representation and adequate participation.”
She lamented that women holder farmers have just 14 per cent of holding rights on land where they farm.
She emphasised that despite the roles of women farmers in food production, government agricultural policies hardly focus on supporting them, stressing that it was estimated that if women had the same access to finance, land, technology as men, they could contribute significantly to achievement of the SDGs of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
“Having a nuanced policy can support more representation, voice and participation of women in agriculture”, she stressed.
As seen on thepunchng