By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The European Union, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, and Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment have collaborated to empower ginger farmers in Plateau State and equipped them with advocacy skills to improve ginger farming in the State.
The program implemented through the pro-poor growth and promotion of employment in Nigeria and the Nigeria Competitive Project is to identify business enabling environment constraints in the ginger value chain and develop advocacy plans to address them.
The benefiting ginger farmers, drawn from three clusters of Jos, Langtang, and Mangu were also trained on how to make ginger farming competitive and profitable thereby making ginger a revenue earner to the State.
Addressing the farmers at the training in Jos, GIZ representative, Oluwaseun Ajirobaju stated the program is meant for economic growth, promoting business enabling environment, and fostering entrepreneurship in the country.
The farmers were taken through tips for effective business enabling environment advocacy and development of advocacy messages; mainstreaming gender in associations and addressing specific gender constraints for women value chain actors, among others.
Chizoba Nnabugwu, a facilitator at the training noted, “Plateau State has the best quality of ginger but is not listed among ginger producing States in the country, this means there is a gap and that must be corrected. This training is to help ginger farmers to identify problems encountered and equip them with skills to effectively advocate for enabling environment for ginger production.”
Also, Hauwa Mankilik who spoke on mainstreaming gender in association and addressing specific gender constraints for women value chain actors urged them to promote gender equity and fairness as this will help achieve most of the components of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
She disclosed, “… Nearly 70% of the world’s poorest people are female and two-third of people in the world who cannot read are female, this is because women are not allowed to go to school.
“Investing in women and girls is the single most promising economic, political and social opportunity of our time. … Nigerian women constitute 70%-80% of the agriculture labor force, yet small farm holders have just 14% holding rights on land where they farm.”
She lamented the exploitation of women in agriculture by middlemen and urged them to “build the capacity of women in business on direct access to market and form cooperative societies to handle the marketing of products,” stressing that “gender-sensitive value chain intervention can contribute to poverty reduction.”
However, Claribel Dana’an and Godwill Bulus both ginger farmers at the training highlighted their constraints.
According to Dana’an, “Ginger has economic value and can improve the economy of the farmers and the State. It can be used in creams, drinks, and other things but the fear of women coming into farming is because we don’t own land and the cost of renting one is very high. There is also fear that there may not be sustainability with rented land, we are appealing to our men to support women by giving us land for farming. This will help everyone in the family and society.”
Bulus added, “We have a cooperative, Maar-ret multipurpose cooperative society in Mangu, it is specifically for ginger farmers. We have the problem of availability of seeds, for the past two years, we have been doing seed multiplication.
“We are at the level of production but exploring the level of marketing and improving the value chain, export. The issue of the market is a problem; with our engagement with GIZ, our tension has been relieved, we have engaged off-takers and are working to attain the standard expected so that the pricing of the product will improve.
“This training on advocacy is good, we will be engaging stakeholders to see how we can improve the value attached to ginger production and processing.”