James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has launched the National Gender Policy in Agriculture.
The initiative is aimed at drastically reducing the bias of women in the sector, address the unequal gender power relation as well as bridge the gender gap.
He said going forward, his ministry would advance gender equality and empowerment and promote the belief that this remains crucial for agricultural development.
Speaking at the ceremony, the minister noted that despite the important role women play in the sector, their contributions were neither adequately valued nor reflected in the national accounting systems or given prime consideration in agricultural policy processes.
But he said the new policy was being launched to reverse the unfair and unfortunate trend as the development of any country requires the participation of both men and women.
He added that apart from social justice which demands equal opportunity for all citizens, it is smart economics to plan for bothering men and women as such approach benefits society as a whole.
Nanono, said women make up about 50 per cent of the country’s population and are responsible for carrying out 70 per cent of agricultural labour, 50 per cent of animal husbandry related activities and 60 per cent food processing activities.
Nevertheless, he said women only have access to less than 20 per cent of the available agricultural resources, describing it as a serious impediment to their efforts to maximise agricultural production.
The minister said unveiling of the policy was consistent with the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by World Leaders at the United Nations Summit in New York, in September 2015.
According to him, the agenda underscores the vital role agriculture plays in sustainable development and its importance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating poverty (SDG-1), ending hunger, achieving food security, improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture (SDG-2) as well as ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and enhance the empowerment of women and girls (SDG-5) among others.
He said document provides a policy direction that underscores the fact that accounting for the different roles of women and men in agriculture for development and gender equality in access to resources as well as equal opportunities in maximising means of livelihood, remain a necessary condition for progressively realising the SDGs.