By Albert Akota
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria SMEDAN has empowered Nine Cooperative societies drawn from Niger, Nassarawa and Enugu States with processing machineries under its Advancement for Woman in Agriculture, Agro Allied and Cottage Enterprises (AWAKE) programme.
A statement from the Corporate Affairs Unit of the Agency stated that desirous to deliver on its mandate of jobs creation and ensuring sustainable livelihood the AWAKE programme was designed as recognition of the important role of women in rural enterprises.
Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda in his address at the presentation of machineries to three Cooperatives societies in Lafia, Nasarawa State stated that women generally face additional hurdles to their economic and social well being than men, adding they are often in the frontline and are more deeply impacted by poverty, climate change, food insecurity, lack of healthcare and global economic crisis.
Dr. Radda said those constraints in access to productive resources increase in relative severity with women in the rural areas; hence the Agency was putting in more efforts to achieve their goals for agricultural development, economic growth and food security.
“We hope to through this AWAKE Initiative deepen Agro process capacity in the nations hinterland especially among women; promote utilization of local raw materials, promote jobs and wealth creation amongst a critical population segments and as well as reduce rural – urban migration and its attendant challenges.
They were each provided with Groundnut Oil Extracting machine, Spice Grinding machine and Herbs Hammer Machine
The state commissioner of industry Mr. Obadiah Boyi commended the agency for its Initiative and assured the state government commitment to provide an enabling environment for its to achieve its mandate.
The Cooperatives Societies that benefited from the SMEDAN AWAKE Programme in Nasarawa State are: Groundnut oil/Kulikuli Cooperative Society, Moringa Cooperative Society and Spices Cooperative Society.