…calls for recognition of women in all sectors
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA-AS Nigeria joins rest of the world to commemorate 2022 International Women’s Day, IWD, March 8, 2022, an agribusiness firm, SWEER Global Farms, Monday, assured support for women farmers in relevant areas to boost their productivity and profitability.
The assurance was made by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Dr Thaddeaus Thompson, in a chat with Vanguard, while speaking on the important role women have played over the years in food production as they have provide nations food and nutrition security.
According to Thompson, women’s role in food production dates to the stone-age but ever since they have been underrepresented and up to date they are still being underrepresented.
He also called for recognition of women in all sectors of the economy based on the role they play to keep the economy afloat amidst various economic challenges including the effects of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme of 2022 International Women’s Day is ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.’
He said: “Farming is without a doubt one of the most physical labors on earth, and as a result men who are naturally built stronger than women are the ones recognized and considered farmers, whereas the females are considered farm house keepers or housewives.
“Despite the disadvantages in bodily structure and the physicality of farm labor, women have refused to remain on the backbench and rather have stepped up to the challenges it takes to feed the nation through agriculture.
“One of the areas women have excelled more than men in agriculture is managing and organizing, which tends to be their natural abilities.
“As farming moves into a more complex and sophisticated phase of development, commonly known as modern day farming, the need for recognition of women as high contributors has become even more apparent.
“Modern farming requires extensive farm management and organizational skills, an area of expertise that is clearly attributed to women than it is of men. At SWEERGLOBAL FARMS, the role of women in management is evident, especially of the skill set that women have brought into our farm business.
“The idea of starting the SWEERGLOBAL FARMS in Bayelsa State, which is today the largest commercial farm in the State, was the birth child of a woman who is today a director of the farms.
“We are encouraging the women and the youths of Bayelsa by assigning them to their best areas of interest and strengths, which is technology and management.
“The youth population must be encouraged to develop interest in food production or else the agriculture sector will disappear or be fully reliant on food imports.
“Women are seen on food production campaign trails and are demonstrating exceptional skills in farm management and food production, in general. If this sounds unfamiliar to you, just visit any of the agriculture trade-shows and see who are in charge of managing the shows.
“As Nigeria aggressively launches into agriculture with the aim of gaining global recognition and succeeding, women in the field have played a pivotal role and have championed every bit of our success.
“Unfortunately, women are struggling to gain accreditation for financial support and loans from Nigerian banks, largely because women’s ability to successfully operate a food production business is highly underrated in Africa, in which Nigeria is not an exemption. Most lenders and sponsors fail to understand that modern farming is more technical than physical.”
However, the SWEER Global Farms boss, said farm management technology is of greater interest to the modern-day youth, who refuses to follow the tedious paths and methodologies of previous generations.
“They are unwilling to do hard labor for farm works that can be done through smart technology.
“Women on the other hand do not want to engage in unorganized farming as it contradicts their nature of being organizationally focused species. Integrating women in the food production chain has created results that many in the industry have undermined for centuries.
“With over 25 active women managers on the SWEERGLOBAL FARMS, what we have learned over the years of operation is that the initial thought that administrative work will be more befitting for women was disproved by their level of engagement in administration and on the fields as well”, he said.