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June 12: Focus on women, sustain democracy NAWE charges Buhari

By Chijioke Chijioke, Jos

Empowering women is to transcend the limits of society in building a sustainable democracy, the Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs (NAWE), has informed President Muhammadu Buhari.

NAWE said this is important considering the role women play in agriculture and their efforts to contribute to feeding about 200 million Nigerians with wholesome foods, President of NAWE, Barr. (Mrs) Vera Ndanusa said.

Ndanusa said if the President looks inward he will see that women are faced with a number of difficulties that hinder productivity and sustainability, hence urged the President to role out scheme that will accommodate and engage more women in production.

Speaking on the occasion of June 12, a day set aside to mark the Nation’s Democracy, Ndanusa said democracy can be better sustained if more women are Independent and stable to keep the home front running.

Ndanusa advised Buhari to build a collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and NAWE to achieve effective women participation in agriculture.

She further advised that credit facilities should also be made available to women farmers with collateral demands, structured to accommodate their peculiarity.

“Women are the fore frontiers of agriculture in Nigeria and in other African countries because they are the producers, processors and marketers. Women take a large space in agriculture, which is essential.

“Despite the enormous tasks, women in agriculture have limited access to resources that would improve agricultural productivity, especially, women face significant inequalities in agriculture in developing countries.

“Land ownership and control are still dominated by men in terms of average land size apportioned to farming activities, with widespread disparity across communities and states”.

Ndanusa argued that limited financial facilities also impair women’s productivity in agricultural enterprises in Nigeria, adding that disparity exists regarding women’s rights to financial assets and fair remuneration for their contribution to the family business.

“Women increasingly supply national and international markets with traditional and high-value produce (garri, fish, vegetables) to a greater extent than men. They also dominate the buying and selling of agricultural produce.

“However, men who trade in agricultural products have an advantage, because they are often selling their own produce. Time spent by men and women in agribusiness management, including marketing, record-keeping and sales is greater for women than for men in all the agro-ecological zones,” Ndanusa said.

She called on Buhari to send bill to the National Assembly allowing women to own land officially, saying that women are not granted land officially in the sense that women do not usually inherit land culturally, except in an enlightened environment.

“When it comes to farming, women in Nigeria are mostly subsistence farmers; they live from hand to mouth.

“Now that we have made a decision on agriculture, the first thing is to be able to assess funds that will empower small-scale farmers.

“In the east, the majority of the people in agriculture are women. Now, soft loans are essential for them,” she said.

Going forward, Ndanusa urged the government and international agencies to tailor programmes that would encourage the empowerment of more women in sustainable agriculture.

Financial institutions and credit groups are also called upon to be women friendly in their lending to the sector, considering the role women play in food security and socio-economic chains, our correspondent reports.


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