The National Chairperson of the Nigerian Association of Women in Agriculture (NAWIA), Mrs Chahul Ngizan, has canvassed for better opportunities and an enabling environment for women farmers.
Ngizan made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos in commemoration of the International Women Day.
NAN reports that NAWIA is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works with rural-small-holder women in the areas of agriculture, violence against women, women in governance, climate smart agriculture and women rights.
According to Ngizan, although women farmers cultivate 75 per cent of agro-produce in the country, they are the most vulnerable in the agro-sector.
“We work with rural women and have seen first-hand how they suffer in order to grow crops to feed their families, so we want to help them in any way possible.
“Women do 75 per cent of the work on the farms but they are not recognised like their male counterparts.
“The women folk do everything on the farm from cultivation to harvest. The women also sell the agro-produce in the markets but the men keep the money.
“Most women farmers do not have access to lands for farming due to the patriarchal society we run. They have to beg for land or even hire lands before they can cultivate crops,” Ngizan told NAN.
The association called for the provision of farm inputs for women farmers at the appropriate time to boost their productivity.
She noted that the women needed grants and not loans as most times the returns on their investment goes to taking care of their families.
The average rural woman farmer goes to the farm with her husband with a baby strapped to her back, carrying a basin and a hoe.
“After the labour, the women farmers get little or no financial gain for their labour as it most times ends in the pockets of the men.
“As an association celebrating the International Women Day, we are calling for more support for the local women farmers. They should be provided with improved seeds, fertilizers and farm inputs on time.
“We want to get these inputs by April which is the appropriate planting season and not by May or June, July or August.
“Sometimes, the government waits till when the season is out before the provision of these inputs to the women farmers. If inputs are given to the women farmers early enough, it will ease our burdens. Fertilizers especially should be given to women too.
“Women farmers should be given grants instead of loans. Processing companies should also off take agro-produce from the women farmers,” the chairperson said.
She said that they needed to help the women farmers on how to develop the various value-chains of their agro-produce.
“All we seek is better opportunities for the women farmers just as we have for their male counterparts.
“As an association, we have been working with some government agencies to better the lots of women farmers, they have been helpful but to a limited extent,” she added.
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