By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Women farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Monday, assured of food production, but want government’s assistance to achieve it.
This was asserted by the Women Leader, AFAN, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chapter, Nkechi Okafor, , while speaking on the aftermath of Coronavirus, COVID -19, pandemic, in the country, especially, to contain looming hunger that may hit hard on Nigerians if proactive steps are not taken to mitigate the impact.
Okafor said there is a need to move fast to beef up food security by equipping farmers with all they need to increase food production.
According to her over 70 per cent of the total farmers’ population in Nigeria are women and they have been the major source of food feeding over 200 million mouths and will continue to produce food despite the raging coronavirus as they are prepared to go back to their farms for food production.
She said: “It is a well-known fact that this deadly Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, came into our great country at a very critical time.
“The hope of survival by most Nigerians is majorly on agriculture and not on oil and gas. Most families in the country are deep into farming and that is being led by women.
“Nigerian women farmers are ever ready to do exploit in the area of agriculture but just required a push from government, other relevant agencies, and well-meaning individuals. Support for women farmers in Nigeria will create a large room for achieving food security, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic presently poses grave challenges to agriculture, even at that, the women are ready to go back to their farms being the major producers of what over 200 million mouths consume as food.
“Now, the big challenge is the onset of the raining season, which most farming activities will soon commence by mostly women and now they do not have what it takes to be on the farm during the 2020 planting season.
“We are appealing to governments at all levels including development partners, corporate organizations to rise up to the occasion and equip women farmers with farm inputs including fertilizers, quality seeds, finance, and extension services, which could be a form of palliative during this period of battling the spread of the deadly and devastating virus.”
Being a trainer and gender right advocate, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria, POFAN, also acknowledged that all agricultural values are in tough times presently, which women farmers are part of, but will like to sustain them in terms of going back to their farms.
“They are active in all the parts of the agricultural value chain but now that the time is tough what will they do to get themselves back and still contribute their quota in helping Nigeria in the quest to achieve food secured country.
“It is imperative that government at all levels should ensure that women farmers in Nigeria are empowered all round for them to go back to their farms any moment this pandemic subsides.
“Government at all levels should not wait to see before believing as it is clear to everyone that the effects of this to Nigeria economy will be too high. It will be dangerous if we do not prepare ourselves well now that the raining season has already set in. To be forewarned is to be forearmed”, she stated.