By Boluwaji Obahopo – Lokoja

Solidaridad West Africa, a Solution-oriented Civil Society Organisation has appealed to the Federal Government to prevail on states and local government councils to make land available for women to enable them to venture into farming in order to generate income and improve their livelihoods.

Programme Manager of the organization, Mr Kenechukwu Onukwube made the appeal in Anyigba, Dekina local government area of Kogi State during a workshop organized by Solidaridad for Oil Palm farmers, community leaders, civil society organisations (CSOs), and local government authorities from Enugu and Kogi states to harmonize the community-based land-use plans for different communities in the two states.

Onukwube who stated that in many states of the federation lands are gazetted and classified lamented that the organization has identified women not having access to land as a major challenge in Nigeria.

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He, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to prevail on state and local government councils to make land available for women and young people who are interested in farming to improve their standard of living in rural areas.

“We have been on serious advocacy in collaboration with CSOs to public authorities over the issue of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) in some states which takes a long process and the farmers don’t have what it takes to acquire such land.

“We also recognizes the power of the chairmen of local government councils in granting Customary Right of Occupancy, so we have been telling them to ignite the law so that it can help farmers especially women to have access to land for agricultural purposes,” he said.

Speaking on the imperative of the workshop, the programme manager said that the meeting was meant for the Oil Palm project to harmonise land-use plans that emanated from communities and local government areas of Enugu and Kogi states.

He pointed out that the idea of harmonization was to ensure that the Land-Use Plans evolve into Sustainable Management Plan (SMP) for the states to enable farmers to have access to land for the purpose of oil palm farming.

“There are a lot of issues, accusations, or criticism over the continuous production of oil palm globally. This really emanated from environmental and social concern that to grow oil palm you have to clear forest leading to deforestation and emission of greenhouse gases from the trees that had been fell which contributed to global warming; a major challenge in climate change.

“The idea of SMP is to enable us to take a critical look at what emanated from the communities so that we can be able to fashion out how best we can effectively manage our land resources sustainably in such a way that will bring economic benefits to our farmers, stem social problems, make oil palm farming lucrative so that more young men and women can go into farming as a sure business for livelihood”

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