Nigerian women in agriculture: A catalyst for food security and family well-being, By Uche Amaonwu  

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Reading Time: 6 mins read

almost 25 percent,

women account for 30 to 50

What Is Holding Us Back?

 

Egal et al (2023)

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How Can We Re-write this Script?

 

Making women a strong focus of agriculture and addressing the inequalities they face, has far-reaching economic implications as it will simultaneously empower millions of women with economic opportunities—while driving significant advances globally in food security, agriculture production, dietary health, childhood nutrition and even GDP, according to the FAO.

 

The FAO finds that if just half of development investments globally in food and agriculture embraced women’s empowerment as a fundamental priority, the benefits for everyone would include rise in incomes for 58 million people and resilience to food shocks would significantly increase for another 235 million.

 

In Nigeria, according to the World Bank, closing the gender productivity gap could

increase GDP by US$2.3 billion

and decrease global food insecurity by two percentage points, thereby putting nutritious food on the tables of another 45 million people.

 

Beyond economic contributions, women in agriculture play a vital role in promoting family well-being and social cohesion. As primary caregivers, women ensure their families have access to nutritious food, clean water, and other essential commodities. Women often reinvest their earnings in their children’s education, healthcare, and other areas of prospect, laying the foundation for intergenerational prosperity and a peaceful society.

 

The Time Is Now. We Cannot Wait.

 

Can our nation begin the steps to removing the barriers that women face in agriculture immediately? Here are opportunities we must harness.

 

Top on the list is policy reform. To prioritise unleashing women’s economic power, we need to reform our policies to position women at the heart of decision making in agriculture.  Next, we must improve their access to land for farming. Why can’t our women inherit land? Why should women not be able to lease land for family on the same footings as men? These are questions we must answer at national and sub-national levels.

 

We also need to answer the question of finance and ramp up our existing drive on financial inclusion for women in agriculture. Let us advocate for increased access to credit, insurance, and other financial services tailored to women’s needs and capacities.

 

Our women need capacity strengthening in the areas of training, skill development, market information and other avenues for value addition in agricultural processing. Next to this is access to markets. We should begin to provide market information, linkages to buyers and what is wrong if they can even export their own produce?

 

A robust networking and collaboration structure among clusters of women farmers, agricultural organizations, government, civil society groups will also help these women share information, knowledge, experiences and resources for improved productivity to the benefit of all.

 

Finally, let us think about this, a great opportunity is before us to invest in our women and girls, so we can break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.  Our women are powerful, they are resilient, they are the foundation of our homes, and through agriculture, they can feed our nation. The solution to hunger is right before us, we must empower our valuable “beacons of hope.”   And at the Gates foundation, this is our raison d’etre, “to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.”

 

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