2021 harvest: mixed fortunes for Nigerian farmers in North – West states

…as 12m people in 16 Northern States face food insecurity

By Gabriel Ewepu and Fortune Eromosele

WOMEN farmers under the auspices of Smallscale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria, SWOFON, Monday, urges Federal Government to commence food voucher intervention to tackle current food crisis in the country.

This was part of the recommendations contained in a communique signed by the National President, SWOFON, Mary Afan, after a ‘2 Day SmallScale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) National Advocacy Forum’ held in Abuja from 29th – 30th November 2021.

The communique made the recommendation based on its report that 12.8 million people in 16 Northern States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara and the FCT are currently faced with food and nutrition insecurity due to climate change, insecurity, farmer/herder clashes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the communique, apart from these 16 Northern States, other States are also faced with food and nutrition insecurity due to similar factors earlier mentioned, while food and nutrition insecurity is further exacerbated across Nigeria through post-harvest losses of about N3.5 trillion annually.

The communique reads in part, “Humanitarian and food voucher interventions should be carried out across Nigeria while massive investments should focus on tackling post-harvest losses, climate change, insecurity, and farmers &herders clashes to bring us out of this situation.

“State Ministries of Agriculture should constitute their State Gender Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Gender Policy in the Agricultural sector, in a bid to offer equal access and gender-sensitive approaches towards food production.

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“States should create budget lines to fund the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture

“States should create specific annual budget lines for smallholder women farmers and ensure total release.

“Smallholder women farmers should be included in agriculture budget and policy making processes at all levels.”

However, the communique called for implementation of the National Gender Policy, NGP, in Agriculture: “For capacity building, SWOFON should be included into annual trainings of FMARD, State Ministries of Agriculture, Financial Institutions and Development Partners as captured in the policy.

“Female extension agents should be recruited by the State Ministries of Agriculture to fill the large gender gap in extension services and the farmers and extension agent’s ratio; Gender units at federal and in states in collaboration with relevant agencies should train smallholder women farmers on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

“Federal and State governments should specially design capacity development programmes to improve the capacity of Smallholder Women Farmers on mitigation and adaptation strategies against Climate Change and provide access to organic fertilizers and organic control of pest.

“The gender unit of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should establish new mechanism and indicators for data collection which should be gender sensitive, specifically reflecting the concerns of smallholder women farmers.

“Federal and State Governments should ensure gender equity, through periodic impact analysis of all agricultural policies, programmes, projects, and activities on smallholder women farmers; Federal and State Governments should eliminate all forms of culture or religious based gender biases in Agriculture; The government need to urgently review the Land Use Act to address the issues of gender discrimination in land ownership.

“Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and State Ministries of Agriculture should provide appropriate labour-saving technologies for smallholder women farmers through the Green Imperative Project and other programmes; and Federal and State Governments should support smallholder women farmers with training on Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture at the household level.”

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