By Felicia Imohimi
Stakeholders from the agriculture and environment sector have called for the domestication of the National Gender in Agriculture Policy (NGPA), to accelerate sustainable agricultural production to achieve food security.
Stakeholders included the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Nigerian Institute of Soil Science (NISS), International Center for environmental health and development as well as civil society organizations (CSOs). .
They made the call on Wednesday in Abuja during the National CSO Advocacy Dialogue on the theme: “Climate Justice and Economic Resilience Project for Rural Women Farmers in Nigeria”, organized by the International Center for Environmental Health and Development (ICEHD).
Dr. Ndudi Bowei, National Director of the Rose of Sharon Foundation, said the NGPA policy document was launched in 2019 to accelerate the adoption of gender-responsive and responsive approaches to engender plans and agricultural programs.
The foundation is a partner of ICEHD in implementing the Climate Justice and Economic Resilience Project for Rural Women Farmers in Nigeria.
The approach, she said, would ensure that both men and women have access to and control of productive resources to bridge gender gaps.
Bowei, who disapproved of gender inequality in terms of access to land resources, market, credit facilities, education among others, said the domestication and implementation of the policy document in terms of funding would eliminate gender bias.
She said that “gender inequalities limit agricultural productivity and efficiency and in doing so undermine the development agenda.
“Failure to recognize the different roles of women and people with special needs is costly as it results in misguided projects and programs, loss of agricultural production and income, and food and nutrition insecurity. .
“It is time to take into account the essential contribution and role of women in agricultural production in order to move women and people with special needs from subsistence to higher value production.”
According to her, the meeting will influence gender-based agricultural policy and climate change which has called for funding to implement its laudable goals.
“The meeting will broaden this and let the government know how important it is that the budget is allocated to implement the right policy that will actually help women farmers grow their businesses and gain access to land and other resources” , she says.
Bowei said the policy document will improve the platform to build an agro-food ecosystem to meet domestic and foreign demands to achieve food security and accelerate development.
According to her, the gender policy in agriculture should significantly reduce women’s vulnerability to bias in agriculture, address the unequal power relationship between the sexes and close the existing gaps.
This, she said, would enhance the contributions of smallholder farmers who are predominantly women with special needs.
Ms. Ifeoma Ayanwu, Head of Gender Unit, FMARD, said that women constitute about 50% of the country’s population and are responsible for carrying out 70% of agricultural work, 50% of livestock-related activities and 60 % of food processing activities.
She said, however, that they had access to less than 20% of available agricultural resources, pointing out that the gap was a serious impediment to maximizing agricultural production.
“Implementation of the document will achieve gender-responsive reforms and increase the productivity of men and women along value chains, improve food security, reduce hunger, poverty and maintain livelihoods of men and women in agricultural value chains for the common good,” she says.
Ms. Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, ICEHD partner, said the dialogue was being organized for CSOs and leaders of women farmers’ groups to review the findings and make recommendations on the way forward to mitigate the impact of climate change on women in agriculture.
Nwosu-Juba said climate change has a bigger impact because it disproportionately affects women and widens gender inequalities.
“Women in their diversity are increasingly recognized as more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than men, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on natural resources, which climate change threatens most.
“The main issues currently affecting women and girls that our proposed work addresses are: food insecurity, loss of income and lack of financial freedom due to climate change issues.
“Many women farmers are grappling with the crisis of climate change and. its adverse effects on agricultural products and crop production, health and well-being and the challenges of poor patronage, loss of market access and profits exacerbated by COVID-19,” he said. she declared.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the objectives of the dialogue include CSO engagement on gender and climate change.
It also aimed to discuss climate challenges and its adverse effects on food production as it relates to women farmers and deliberate on measures to be taken to improve the income generating activities of women farmers, among others. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Mark Longyen/Rabiu Sani-Ali