Posted 13 July 2011, by Staff, Nigerian Tribune (African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc), tribune.com.ng
Women in Nigeria contribute between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of the labour in the agricultural sector, Mrs Maryam Halilu, a lecturer with the Kaduna Polytechnic, has said.
Halilu said this in a paper presentation entitled, “Farmers Cooperative Societies and Women Empowerment: The Role of Local Government Council”, at a workshop, organised by the Kaduna State Local Government Service Board in conjunction with Jahaji Consults.
“ Rural women, more than their male counterparts, take the lead in agricultural activities, making up to 60 to 80 per cent of labour force, produce two-thirds of food crops and engage in animal production.
“ It is ironical that their contributions to agriculture and rural development are seldom noticed,” the lecturer said.
She called on the government to review the agriculture policy with a view to involving women farmers in decision making in the agricultural sector, to reduce gender inequality and remove the bottlenecks to enhance the development of the sector.
“Such policies, aimed at increasing food security and food production, tend to underestimate and totally ignore women’s role in both production and the general decision-making,” she observed.
Halilu listed some of the challenges facing women farmers to include limited access to finance, poor markets, inconsistencies in government policies, adverse environment, reduction of public expenditure on the agricultural sector and inequitable access to production resources.
Others are poor infrastructure, inaccessibility to modern agricultural techniques and health hazards such as HIV/AIDS.
She also urged local governments to procure and sell fertiliser at a subsidised price to women farmers and be transparent and equitable in the distribution, to enhance women’s participation in food production.