Women farmers, under the umbrella of the Small-scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), have solicited their involvement in the yearly budgets and policy-making processes for the agricultural sector.
They also advocated for special allocations for smallholder women farmers during the budget processes in all states and at the federal level.
SWOFON Programme Coordinator, Mrs Ogechi Okebugwu, Programme Coordinator of SWOFON, made the call during a town hall meeting and strategic engagement with stakeholders on monitoring and implementation of the agricultural budget at the weekend in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
According to her, women farmers need to be involved in budget processes to ensure that their needs are properly captured.
She listed other demands of members demands to include gender-friendly mechanisation, revolving micro-credit facilities to increase the productive capacities of women, and farm inputs such as improved seedlings, fertilisers and pesticides.
Others, she explained, are extension services with innovation, research findings on new farming techniques, ICT, capacity building on climate change resilience, adaptation and mitigation strategies, capacity building to minimise post-harvest losses, and improved legislative oversight.
She noted that 75 per cent of farmers in Nigeria are women, with most of them still using obsolete equipment and their needs not included in the national agriculture budget, adding that the inclusion of their needs and gender-friendly policies in agriculture would also boost food production and sufficiency in the country.
Also speaking, the SWOFON Coordinator in the state, Mrs Jumai Yohana, who was represented by Mrs Caroline Abimikwu, her assistant, noted that the non-inclusion and capturing of the needs of smallholder women farmers have been affecting output.
She urged the Nasarawa State government to accord special attention to smallholder women farmers in the 2023 budget, while also appealing for the inclusion of their members in all empowerment programmes in the state.
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