Organization urges Gombe State Government to empower women farmers
Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON), Gombe State chapter, has called on the state government to empower women in agriculture as well as youths to boost food security in the state and country.
The State Chairperson, SWOFON, Mrs. Airudia Mamman, made the call in Gombe on Thursday at the end of a one-day Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on the 2024 agriculture budget.
Mamman said with such support women and youths would be placed in a better position to use their numerical strength to boost food security, create jobs and improve the income of smallholder farmers in the state.
She said there was need for women and youths in agriculture to be given due attention through adequate extension services, proper funding and access to credit to enable them contribute more to the economy of the state and country.
According to her, a key recommendation from the meeting is the need for the provision of budget lines within the agriculture budget to support youths and encourage them to take farming as vocation.
The association also urged the state government to develop an enabling environment and policy framework to enable smallholder farmers especially women, youths and farmers living with disability have access to credit on single digit interest rate.
“Provisions for women and youths in agriculture should be prioritised. Also, there should be timely disbursements of these funds, including the subsidised inputs like fertilisers (organic and inorganic). There should be adequate provision for credits and loans for especially smallholder women farmers and youths; this will greatly boost their output hence, food sufficiency, security and self-employment.
“The Gombe State Agricultural Development Programme should be well funded and logistics adequately provided so that the extension agents will be able to meet the extension needs of smallholder women farmers across the state,” she said.
Mamman said the state government should also scale-up investments in agriculture as well as ensure total budget releases, noting that such would help increase food production and reduce hunger and poverty.
“The state government needs to increase the budgetary allocation to smallholder women farmers in 2024 to at least N100 million and ensure timely release,” she said.
SWOFON commended the state government for making adequate provisions for women to have access to the subsidised fertilisers, which the association noted was of great benefit to women farmers in the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Mr Ibrahim Yakubu, in his speech said the state government was concerned about the plight of farmers and was taking necessary steps to assist farmers.
Yakubu said his ministry would assist women farmers in the state to access credit while also subsidising farm equipment for them to boost production and get good returns for their investments in agriculture.
The meeting was organised by the Gombe State chapter of SWOFON, Hope Foundation for the Lonely in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Gombe, with support from ActionAid Nigeria.
NAN / Foluke Ibitomi