July 21, 2011

FG to empower women farmers – Minister

The Federal Government is set to empower women farmers as part of its new startegy to facilitate the development of the agricultural sector.

Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the new Minister of Agriculture, who made the announcement on in Abuja in an interview with newsmen shortly after assuming office, said the measure had become imperative, because women accounted for 80 per cent of the country’s labour force.

He observed that although women produced more than 55 per cent of the food crops in the country, they lacked sufficient access to farm implements to boost their productivity.

Adesina said government’s decision to boost women farmers’ involvement in agriculture was premised on the fact that the sector remained the mainstay of the nation’s economy.

He said government had a lot of incentives for women under the agricultural programme to make them farm with ease and enhance their productivity.

The minister added that government would invest in infrastructure in rural areas through the creation of “remunerative economic opportunities,” for more women to engage in agriculture.

He promised that government would also look into the problems of farmers generally with a view to ensuring that they had more access to farm inputs, such as seeds and fertiliser. Adesina said efforts would be intensified to accelerate the pace of improvement in domestic production of crops and processing to ensure food security.

He said government was worried about post harvest losses, stressing those Nigerian farmers could not continue to sell with tears, but must reap the dividends of farming.

“We will produce storage facilities, revamp the sector and accelerate farmers’ activities in a clear and visible manner that will impact their lives and restore the nation’s lost glory in agriculture.”