By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Women Farmers under the auspices of Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria, SWOFON, Tuesday, disclosed holding a town hall meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, in Abuja overgrowing and worrisome insecurity issues that affect food production and security.
This was made known by the National President, SWOFON, Mary Afan, while speaking on the essence of the conversation which will lead to developing strategies in addressing the emergency situation these factors have occasioned.
Afan said: “In recent times, smallholder women farmers in Nigeria have experienced a series of economic shocks that require urgent corrective intervention from governments at national and sub-national levels.
“The shocks include severe droughts (mainly in the northern regions), severe flooding in the central and southern regions, infestation by pests and pathogens, and increased insecurity on the farms (women farmers are victims of rape and killings on their farms by bandits/killer-herdsmen across the country).
“These are in addition to the negative impacts of COVID-19. Today, the price of basic food is rising astronomically. That, if not quickly addressed could further impede government strategies of upending the cycle of poverty, such a scenario portends grave danger for broader Food Security nationwide post-COVID.
“It is within this background that smallholder women farmers are constructively engaging critical stakeholders in the agriculture sector to critically analyze and distill strategies to address the emergency food security concerns of smallholder women farmers.”
According to her, there will be a symbolic prelude to the town-hall meeting, in which SWOFON will be accompanied by her coalition partners to visit the National Museum in Abuja to ceremoniously retire a collection of crude farming tools.
“The traditional hoe that has been used laboriously by smallholder women farmers over the years and symbolically, SWOFON is labeling these crude farming tools as relics from the past.
“SWOFON believes that for Nigeria to achieve food security post-COVID-19 smallholder women farmers who constitute the majority agriculture labour force needs access to gender-friendly equipment that will improve their productivity”, she added.