From Omale Adama, Lokoja
Kogi State Coordinator of the agricultural Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), Mr. Sunday Omaku, on Tuesday called on female farmers to key into the programme to guarantee better access to farm inputs.
Mr. Omaku made the call at a one-day meeting of leadership of women organizations in agriculture on “State-level Dissemination of Community Participatory Assessment on GES In the Agriculture Sector” in Lokoja.
Peoples Daily reports that the programme was organized by ActionAid Nigeria in collaboration with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID).
The Coordinator challenged the various women organizations including Women in Agriculture (WIA) and Small Holder Women Farmers Association of Nigeria (SHOWFAN) among others to ensure improved registration of women farmers in the scheme.
He said that the present percentage enrolment of women farmers in the scheme was negligent, adding that the situation was partly responsible for their inability to access improved seedlings and other farm inputs for high yields.
The WIA President in the state, Mrs. Esther Audu in her response, called for establishment of more centres and the need to dedicate some of the centres to female farmers in view of marginalization by men.
Mrs. Audu called for more women to be made agro-dealers in the e-wallet system to enable them access the inputs with ease.
She however hinted that women farmers in the state had made alternative arrangements to access improved seeds for them to take full advantage of the cropping season rather than wait endlessly for government seeds.
In his remark, Executive Director of PIBCID, Mr Victor Adejoh said there was need for women to advance beyond their current level in agriculture and challenged the leadership of their various organizations to mobilize them to access the provisions of GES.
He also called for more women Agro-dealers in the three senatorial districts of the state saying that of the 60 agro-dealers in the state, only one was a woman.
Mr. Adejoh urged the women to pool their resources together to pay the registration fee of N25,000 per dealer, to register more of their members as agro-dealers on creation of more centres.
“If we have five or more women agro-dealers, I am sure more women will be able to access agricultural inputs and seeds that are necessary to support women in the production of food’’”, he noted.