By Victoria Ojeme
The Federal Government has said that, there is need for Nigeria women to be more financially comfortable.
The Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Dr. Audu Ogbe said this why speaking weekend at the AGROBIZ stakeholders forum organised by the National Center for Women Development NCWD, for women farmers in Abuja.
Ogbe said “I want Nigeria Women to improve their life’s and health and become more comfortable financially and that is the will of federal government.
So, l believed that, for this country to grow and grow well, there is need for us to take a serious look at the situation of Nigeria women at every level down to the villages.
“We want people in the rural areas to be more and more comfortable. Adding that the high degree of poverty is unacceptable in this country.
“And now that agricultural is improving and we are putting money together, l assured you that the transformation will begin and continue.
“We don’t want to give loan that cannot be recovered, as we are going to reduce the interest rate very low. So, that as a group, if you are making profit from whatever you are doing, you can repay the loan and make some profit”, said the Minister.
He said “the great thing about women’s world wide is that, women’s have a good record of loan payment of 98 per cent why the male have a record of loan payment of about 60 per cent.
“So, please organise your corporatives; let us have their names, because I tell you personally, if we cannot and if we do not stabilize women in Nigeria, we cannot reorganize this society.
For children need to buy biscuits along the way, as children like to eat and if you can’t give to them, they being to go round feeling that he or she is being denied somethings and if that child grows up with that bitterness, you cannot change the child later in life, so it is our concerns that we make women, much stronger economically than they are now”,
He then called on “them to continue to pray for the country, for we want peace, harmony and improved livelihood for all of you, because the children you have now are the ones going to replace us and if they are not happy and well trained, there will be no peace in the future and if they are happy, well trained and well looked after, they will be prepared to savage the country and prepared to make sure that Nigeria survived”,
The Director General of National Center for Women Development, NCWD, Barrister Mary Ekpere-Eta, in her speech said that the center priority is to see that the women are empowered. “The center vigorously pursues programmes aimed at upholding and promoting high intellectual practice in the area of women’s empowerment and gender development for sustainable national development. As such these programmes are based on the recognition that women’s economic empowerment is the first step to freedom”, said the DG.
Ekpere-Eta said “As we are all aware agriculture continues to remain an important sector of Nigeria’s economy, engaging over 70 per cent of the labour force, of which above 75 per cent are peasant rural women involved in small agricultural holdings that are scattered and subsistence in nature and characterized by simple tools and shifting cultivation. The efforts of these women have not reflected in their agricultural outputs and therefore does not promote the economic well-being of the female farmers and in extension, the nation.
“ It is in this regards that national center for women development in pursuit of its mandate which is geared towards stimulating the consciousness, attainment of social, economic and political empowerment of women is collaborating with AGROBIZ a project supported by the United States department of agriculture (USDA) to generate on a continuous and sustainable basis, Socio economic outcomes on all facets of development in Nigeria, for it to become one of the foremost agricultural hubs.
The empowerment of female farmers both local and commercial can increase their income, develop a stable rural livelihood and contribute to ensuring food security for Nigerian women and men is the thrust of this project”.
Permit me to inform you that today’s stakeholders forum is just a starting point for all to enable us build bridges, network and make significant progress for our female farmers in the Agricultural chain. We may not receive funding today but when we keep up the strides as critical stakeholders in the agricultural sector, we will achieve sustainable agricultural progression, end hunger and achieve the attainment of SGDs 1, 2 and 5 in Nigeria come 2030.
It is expected that the outcome of this stakeholder’s forum will lead to new frontier being open for Nigeria farmers and we will be able to draw up the attention of all to the critical issues and concerns that have commit to plague female farmers and chart a way forward, with a view to strategically address these issues in our communities.