…..as Edo First Lady trains widows
SOME of the 500 widows empowered to become poultry farmers by wife of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, have expressed optimism that the 20, 000 birds given to them would make them become millionaires.
Mrs. Obaseki, as part of activities to mark the International Women’s Day celebration, launched the “Edo Women for Agriculture Programme” in which she doled out 40 birds each to 500 widows after training them on how to rear birds. The 40 birds comprised 20 layers and 20 broilers. The beneficiaries described the gesture as a good omen in their lives because it would make them self sufficient as feeds were also given to them.
One of the widows, who gave her name as Juliet Aibangbee, said she preferred the birds to money as she would now be engaged in a productive venture. She said they were promised during the training programme that a ready market would be provided for their products. Another beneficiary, who simply gave her name as Mrs. Glory, said they were told the high breed birds do not die easily and were capable of laying five to six eggs daily.
Plans to empower widows in the state began during the electioneering campaign of Governor Obaseki when he promised to pay monthly stipend to 100 widows. However, there was a change of plan to rather make the widows income earners by making them key into various agricultural initiatives of his administration.
Speaking at the launch of the “Edo Women for Agriculture Programme”, Mrs. Obaseki said she observed that giving out monthly stipend would just be pocket money for the beneficiaries and so she advised that the money should be invested in productive ventures for the widows with a view to ensuring food security.
Mrs. Obaseki promised that any widow that successfully managed the 40 birds would be further empowered as the initiative was to boost the production capacity of rural women, tackle food shortages and poverty. She said the birds were specially breed capable of laying five to six eggs daily and would ensure steady income for the widows.
Her words: “I think it is better to empower the widows rather than to give them money. Therefore, we have developed an empowerment project for the widows by collaborating with Bank of Industry and Edo State will be lucky to be the pilot scheme. We will create a revolution in rural poultry production that will increase productivity and income for rural women and empower them to transform access of poor households to source animal protein.
“I brought the best company in poultry business to ensure food security. The demand for chicken and eggs is very high. We will create market for the widows to sell the birds. After we succeed with this, we will extend it to thousands of women. I will churn out initiatives for women to have opportunities to be rich. We are not doing politics, we are doing governance. Edo indigenes are allowed to join this administration. We will not behave like people with small minds. This is no time for politics.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu said the widows might have been expecting to go home with sewing machines, motorcycles and hair dressing machines, but the governor’s wife, working in line with the change mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC), gave them chickens, which they could rear and make money.