A coalition of female farmers under the Smallholder Women Farmers in Nigeria (SWOFON) has canvassed for Gender-friendly Agricultural Practices and Policies of the Federal Government to improve women participation in the Agricultural Development.
The National President, Mary Afan, said that even though 72 per cent of the agricultural labour forces are women, they are disadvantaged in terms of accessing farm inputs, like fertilizers and others.
She further stated that they support the plan of Mr. President to drastically reduce the vulnerability of women to biases in farming, bridge gender gaps, and also to address the unequal gender power relations in this important Sector.
Explaining further, she said that “the Federal Government recognized these facts in its recently launched National Gender Policy on Agriculture.”
She also said that with the National Gender Policy on Agriculture today, there are 379,172 smallholder women farmers organized into the cooperatives across the six geo-political zones through the relevant ministries for better deals.
A woman’s role in the Agricultural Sector is significantly affected by the socio-economic factors such as income, education and access to infrastructure etc.
For the Agriculture Sector to attain a new boost thus advance in Nigeria, gender-specific policies and services tailored for women in the value chains should be developed and implemented.
SWOFON is a coalition of women farmers across Nigeria working together to collectively approach the relevant Government Ministries, demanding equity in agricultural production, promote women-friendly agricultural policies and increasing women’s access to lands and others.
Mary Afan also noted that over-dependent on human power has over the years contributed to low agricultural productivity. And, it is directly responsible for the huge poverty rate being experienced.
She further said that smallholder women farmers are forced to source for farm inputs from the open market at a very high rate due to gender inequality inherent in the distribution of Agricultural inputs.