From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)’s Gender Consortium project in collaboration with Value Seeds, Palm Valley and Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW) has begun training for selected representatives of smallholder women farmers groups to participate as advocacy groups at local government level towards domestication of the National Agriculture Gender Policy in Kaduna State.
The AGRA’s Gender Consortium project called “The Enhancing Resilience and Up scaling of Gender Inclusive Rural Economy for Increased Productivity, Livelihoods and Food Security” was developed to address the gender deficit in contributing effectively to food security and agricultural development thereby exacerbating poverty and stunting sustainable development in Kaduna State.
In an interview with newsmen at the sideline of the advocacy training in Kaduna, Technical Adviser, LANW, Barr Rebecca Sako-John clarified that the training was to build the capacity of smallholder women agricultural groups in advocacy and networking toward building a critical mass of women calling for the domestication of the policy as well as advocating on issues faced by smallholder women farmer groups in the state.
According to her, “this is to reduce the gender gap in agriculture. We have a lot of smallholder female farmers who are contributing so much to the agricultural sector but they have limited access to input, credit, training and extension services.
“With the knowledge that about 80 percent of agric works are done by these women, unfortunately, when it comes to production, harvesting and profiting from the benefits they are left behind.
“So, if we are going to achieve the SDGs especially low hunger, low poverty and food security, we must carry them along which is why we are developing a skill in advocacy to identify what are the needs of smallholder women farmers, network and embark on advocacy with relevant stakeholders to see how to make things work better for them.
“We are also advocating for the domestication of the National Agriculture Gender Policy that was adopted at the federal level in 2017. These women will be a part of the advocacy group for engaging issues like, why do we talk about exclusion of women and other marginalised groups, and why that policy is needed to improve the life of smallholder women farmers and people of Kaduna state.
“The project is a multi-year running in Kaduna and Niger states. It is going to cut across the 23 local government areas of Kaduna state but we are starting with five local governments and that is how we will continue so that at the end of the day, we would have covered all the local government areas in Kaduna state.
“However, LEADS is working for only two years basically on the domestication of the gender in agric policy”, she explained.
One of the participants from Birni Gwari local government area of the state, Habibatu Buhari said “we are not enjoying interventions in agric as our men do. The insecurity is not helping as we cannot go far places to farm. We can only do farming behind our houses.
“So, maybe if the policy is domesticated here in Kaduna, the government can help us find a way around this security challenge that is preventing us from producing farm produce to the capacity so we can have food security”, she added.