Kalshingi H Jedidah
Peasant women farmers in Gombe under the auspices of Small Holder Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SHOWFON) have called on government to intensify effort on empowerment of poor women farmers by expanding agric market where women farmers can be protected, as well as ensure coordinated multi sectoral approach for women empowerment and development.Speaking for women farmers at Gombe State Ministry of Agriculture, spokesperson of the state based Non Governmental Organisation Hope for the Lonely, Mr Cleobas James stated that, the call was necessitated by the need for food security and production in the state and the country at large in which women are major stakeholders.
According to him, a recent survey by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other development agencies have shown that, women constitute about 60% to 80% of agricultural labour particularly in Nigerian rural communities, he said there is urgent need for accessibility to farmlands, land security, and promotion of women rights especially women farmers in other to reach the target of agricultural development.
He said, ” going by the surveys, if women constitute 60% to 80% number of farmers and women do not have access to farmlands, or are not empowered then our food production suffers a serious set back.”
He also added that, it is high time government begin to invest more in the agricultural sector by ad hearing to the 2013 Maputo declaration which requires that, all signitary states should commit at least 10% of their national budget to agriculture by 2018.
He however noted that, the NGO’s analysis of the Gombe State budget from the past three years indicated that, the agricultural sector enjoys only 5% of the entire budget, which most of it foes to the current expenditure, this according to him, the capital expenditure suffers because there was no any replicating effort, or multiplier effect to the agricultural sector.
The NOG’s spokesman who said the NGO has been working in areas of project the voice of the less privillaged particularly, peasant farmers whose voices could not be heard, said their visit to the ministry was to forward their plea to the government for proper attention, even as to express their gratitude to the government for its effort towards women empowerment, and agricultural development in the state.
Responding on behalf of the Permanent Secretary State Ministry of Agric, Alh Jani Bello The Programme Manager Agricultural Development Programme Mr Ishaya Ngani Expressed government’s commitment towards implementing programmes that would empower women particularly women in Agriculture.