By Kasim Sumaina
A Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), Every Woman Agriculture Empowerment Initiative (EWAEI), has called on government at all levels to prioritise women in their agricultural planning in the interest of food security in the country.
The National President of EWAEI, Comfort Echo Babalola, made the call in Abuja at the Award and Magazine Launch organised in commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day Celebration.
At the event, over 100 women who had in one way or the other affected lives through their private agricultural initiatives were presented awards and encouraged to do more.
Highlighting the challenges faced by women in the agriculture sector, Babalola said it had not been easy for women to access grants and even loans due to excessively stringent conditions.
According to her, It is not also easy for women to acquire land on their own. “These are some of the challenges faced by we women farmers, and women
contribute over 70 per cent in the agricultural value chain, right from the farm to the store and the table.
“Women are the cornerstone of agriculture so emphasis should be placed on women when planning for agriculture. We demand inclusivity.
We want the narrative changed,” she said.
Speaking further, she noted that the challenge posed by herdsmen whereby farmers, especially women, do not feel safe should be addressed head-on.
She added that EWAEI had existed since 2017 and had been doing its bit to see how it can empower women globally, begining from the home front.
One of the awardees and beneficiaries of EWAEI, who is also contributing her own quota to the economy and humanity through agriculture, Ms Lilian Gold, the founder of Mama Foodstuff Enterprise also stressed the need for women to be able to access funds to do genuine farm business, especially as the current administration is bent on diversifying the economy through agriculture.
She also called on the federal government to do everything possible to address the insecurity situation in the country, adding that it is allowed to escalate further, the dream of food security in the near future will continue to be a mirage.
“Right now, some of us can’t go to the farm for fear of being attacked, kidnapped, or even killed outrightly.
“Even some who have planted cannot go and check, not to talk of tendering their farm stocks.
“This will affect our economy adversely and I foresee acute shortage of food in the nearest future if this trend continues unchecked,” she said.