Women farmers on Monday advocated for agricultural funds specifically tailored towards women, extensive capacity building programmes and resuscitation of dilapidated infrastructure at the grassroots.
A cross section of women made these demands at the ongoing National Agricultural Show organised by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The women listed challenges confronting them to include the lack of funds, poor market access, inadequate storage facilities and undue processes in accessing credits.
Mrs Lizzy Igbine, the National President, Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association, while commenting on the needs of women farmers, said adequate funds were needed for field trials, land preparation, planting and harvest.
“For women, the budgetary funds cannot be accessed and we have problems with undue procedures in accessing bank loans; many banks don’t even grant loans to rural farmers.
“Our lands to them have no value; we cannot use them as collateral and especially as women, land papers were not handed over from our forefathers.
“We therefore, want President Goodluck Jonathan to give grants, especially to women farmers and to help reduce the bottlenecks associated with securing loans in banks.’’
Other women farmers who listed poor linkages to appropriate markets, urged government agencies to utilise the current farmers’ data through the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme to ensure adequate markets.
They urged government to buy back farm produce direct from farmers to encourage valuable income for them, while creating definite rural famers markets to decrease glut and wastage.
Echoing similar views, Prof. Patricia Donli, Chairman, ActionAid Nigeria, while speaking on “Agriculture Investment and Nutrition Security”, noted that the sector’s budget was decreasing annually.
Donli further disagreed the claim by the Food and Agriculture Organisation that Nigeria had already met the MDG Goal 1of halving the number of poor and hungry people in Nigeria.
“I think Nigeria has not met the MDG Goal 1; we have a lot of poor and hungry people in Nigeria, although the Agricultural Transformation Agenda is a step in the direction.
“Nigeria’s budgetary allocation has fallen below the target recommended by the Maputo Declaration; we need at least 10 per cent of the national budget, showing we are not yet serious about investment in agriculture.”
The chairman said low cultivation of arable land in Nigeria, continuous land grabbing issues and the exclusion of women in agricultural financing, discouraged good income for women farmers.
She, therefore, called for the resuscitation of extension services, restoration of rural infrastructure, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures for an improved agriculture sector. (NAN)