From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Following the economic meltdown occasioned by COVID-19, the Federal Government, has distributed agro inputs to 7,500 women farmers in the North Central zone including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
While flagging off the distribution, recently in Abuja, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, noted that government would continue to make concerted efforts in improving rural infrastructure like rural roads, boreholes, irrigation facilities, solar lights, markets etc that are enablers for improved agricultural performance for our farmers and processors active in the rural space.
Some of the items distributed included;
growth enhancer and agro-chemicals) in yam, cassava, potatoes, soybean, rice, maize, sesame, ginger, sorghum/millet, cowpea and horticultural crops.
Nanono, however, fumed over the high rate of gender-based violence targeted at women and called on traditional rulers to expunge unhealthy cultures and traditions impending the development of women.
“It is my pleasure to be here with you today to roll out the distribution of agricultural inputs to about 7,500 smallholder women farmers from North central states and FCT.
“However, today’s activity is different because it is an all women affair to alleviate the impact of COVID – 19 pandemic on them. It is also to commemorate the International Women’s Day 2021 with theme ‘Choose to Challenge.’
“Women, who were socially and financially disadvantaged, were disproportionately affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession that followed.
“Weakened social protection systems have left many of the poorest in society unprotected, with no safety nets to weather the storm.
“With plummeting economic activity, women are particularly vulnerable to layoffs and loss of livelihoods.” The resurgence of extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic has revealed women’s precarious economic security.
“Gender bias is still deeply embedded in our cultures, economies, political and social institutions locally and globally.
“Women and girls face unacceptable levels of discrimination and abuse, which is not only wrong, but also, prevents them from playing a full part in society and decision-making.
“The Ministry is supporting the women with value kits (planting materials, growth enhancer and agro-chemicals) in yam, cassava, potatoes, soybean, rice, maize, sesame, ginger, sorghum/millet, cowpea and horticultural crops. In addition, nutritional value kits will be distributed to the women today.
“The choice of the crops is based on comparative advantage to its production. Again, because women are disadvantaged in land inheritance in Nigeria, the use of sacks and vertical farming are being popularized and the techniques would be demonstrated,” he said.