Assures support to boost women farmers’ productivity
As ActionAid calls for women farmers’ access to single digit interest loan facilities
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As high food prices continue to frustrate Nigerians and triggering hunger, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Saturday, reiterated that despite challenges women farmers remain powerhouse for food production in Nigeria.
Abubakar who expressed concern over the plight of women farmers said the Ministry is very concerned about women farmers as they have continued in food production and boosting food security.
He said all the support needed by women farmers would be given to them in order to boost productivity amidst daunting challenges, especially, with the worrisome situation of insecurity.
He gave the assurance during a courtesy visit paid him by the National Gender Steering Committee led by the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Ene Obi, to his office in Abuja.
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While he recalled inauguration of the National Gender Steering Committee by his Ministry in 2021, on the implementation of the National Gender Policy on Agriculture to mainstream gender into climate change for people with disabilities, access to input for women amongst others, commended the Committee for its great achievement towards creating visibility and awareness.
He said the Committee also did well by translating the National Gender Policy in local languages to the understanding of local farmers and ensured the domestication of the policy in some States
According to the Minister, the commitment to implement eight out of the 11 objectives of the policy which aligns with the mandate of the committee had been forwarded to the World Bank through the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning for necessary action.
However, he made it clear that the onerous responsibility of adopting strategies for a seamless implementation of the objectives of the policy and the well-articulated resolutions at the median retreat prompted courtesy visits and calls on the Ministers of Women Affairs and Finance, Budget and National Planning, including the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation as a formidable strategy aimed at creating awareness on the policy for positive outcomes.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, lauded the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, for her leadership of Committee on implementation of the National Gender Policy on Agriculture.
Umakhihe also acknowledged the Executive Director Development Research and Project Center, Judith-Ann Walker, for sponsoring the second retreat of the Committee.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, in a remark described the National Gender Policy as an assertive document, because it identifies the limitation of growth and development of the agricultural sector
Obi also made it known that female farmers had been supported by different Ministries through Actionaid Nigeria with agricultural produce and training programmes throughout States at subsidized rates.
However, she called for women farmers’ access to single digit interest loan facilities.
Speaking on the importance of such loam interest rate in connection with productivity said it is now time to create a budget for small scale women farmers to be able to access Central Bank of Nigeria, and credit facilities at single digit rate.
Meanwhile, the Director, Special Duties, in the Ministry, Fausat Lawal who represented by the Deputy Director (Special Duties), Akinrinlo Taiwo, explained that focus on the Gender Policy on Agriculture was mainly to mainstream women in extensions services system, improve their responsiveness in Agricultural service delivery, integrate gender perspectives into Climate change and capacity of smallholder farmers on climate adaptation strategies.
In another presentation, the Assistant Director, Head Gender, in the Ministry, Ifeoma Anyanwu, stated that the workshops on Mainstreaming Gender into Climate Change were carried out in the six Geo- Political Zones.
According to Anyanwu, about 1,000 women have been trained on mitigation and adaptation strategy against climate change, which they were given clean stoves.