Gender Equality Headline News Nigeria Special Report

Women seek more support to boost agriculture

The International Rural Women’s Day observed on the 15th of October every year focuses on the essential role rural women play in producing food and driving rural development.

The day calls for more commitments on the part of government and other stakeholder to address the numerous challenges facing the survival and development of rural women.

Across the world, food systems depend largely on the daily work of rural women as they play a variety of essential roles; from growing crops and processing their harvest, to preparing food and distributing their products, as well as ensuring that both their families and communities are nourished.

The theme for this year’s celebration, “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All” spotlights the critical roles rural women play in ensuring food security and eradicating rural poverty.

The day also highlights the unequal power relations and discriminatory gender norms as well as the challenge of climate change faced by these women threaten their social and economic survival.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen sympathized with Nigerian rural women over the devastating effects of flood which had swept away farmlands, destroyed property and led to the death of many.

She explained that the invisible role of rural women must be acknowledged and upgraded by addressing the lingering challenges they face while carrying out their agricultural activities.

The minister further revealed that the Federal Government through the World Bank had disbursed over 3 billion naira to thousands of rural women in some states in the six geo-political zones to support their economic activities and meet their basic needs.

Also, the UN Women, programme officer, women’s Economic Empowerment, Ms. Patience Ekechkwu said rural women who engage in agricultural value chain faced inadequate financial support,  lack of advanced market, poor regulatory policies and land ownership issues.

The Deputy Country Director Oxfam Nigeria, Mr. Abdulaziz Musa, noted that justice was fundamental to improving agricultural activities from production to value chain to guarantee mutual profit for rural women and the society.

“Many rural women have lost their farms, so it means that next year we going to have lots of issues and when these issues come the most people that are affected are the women. There cannot be food justice without gender justice as over half of the population of the labour in Agriculture is women”, Abdulaziz said.

A rural woman, Mrs. Monica Maigari from Kaduna state explained that lack of fertilizer was a great problem.

With less than 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger, Goal 2 and Gender Equality, Goal 5, experts have advocated a bottom-up approach by supporting rural women’s livelihoods to produce and distribute diverse and healthy food crops.

Reporting by Azizatu Sani, editing by Daniel Adejo