The Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) has called on the government to assist women farmers, citing the numerous challenges that militate their farming business.
While speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Mrs Atinuke Akinbade, a SWOFON coordinator in Oyo State, asserted that there is no way that women who engage in agriculture can be successful without governmental support.
She further explained that to procure farm inputs is highly expensive and that if this integral part of food production is adequately taken care of by way of subsidy, it will make agricultural practice easy for women smallholder farmers.
Akinbade said she had on countless occasions led members of the group to the Ministry of Agriculture to seek the government’s support, but nothing has been received.
“We have been asked to submit our details on series of occasions but as we speak, we have not received any form of correspondence from them.
“Another form of discouragement is the fact that seminars and workshops both foreign and local meant to train and guide women farmers are only being attended by who I would love to describe as ‘political farmers’ and wives of politicians and civil servants because of the financial gains involved.”
She stressed that until all these issues are addressed accordingly, women smallholder farmers would continue to take backstage in Nigerian agriculture.
Bolatito Abodunrin, a member of SWOFON, lamented that she recorded severe damage to her cassava farm because she could not afford to buy the chemicals needed to protect her crop against insects’ attacks.
Reacting to the frustrations of the women farmers, Debo Akande, director general of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency, said the state government and Ministry of Agriculture took women farmers very seriously and that there is plan by the state to support them.