Agriculture: ActionAid urges women farmers to come together

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The ActionAid on Thursday tasked women farmers’ groups in Kogi to come under one umbrella and speak with one voice to enable them attract government assistance in loans and improved inputs.

Mr Victor Adejoh, ActionAid Programme Manager and Executive Director, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) made the call at the end of a two-day Citizens Dialogue on 2015 Budget for the Agriculture Sector in Lokoja on Thursday.

Adejoh said that all the women farmers’ groups could melt into the Small Holder Women Farmers Association of Nigeria (SH OWFAN) under Women in Agriculture (WIA) to speak with one voice.

This, he said, would enable easy advocacy and aggregation of interests rather than operating from balkanized and multiple platforms.

On budget processes, the ActionAid Programme Manager regretted that though 80 per cent of the nation’s labour force was engaged in agriculture, the sectors annual budgetary allocations were grossly meagre against the Maputo Declaration of 10 per cent of the entire budget.

Adejoh advocated that government agricultural budgetary processes be based on bottom-top approach to enable active participation of farmers rather that the top-down approach that had yielded little over the years.

The state president of Women in Agriculture, Com. Esther Audu described budgetary provisions for the agriculture sector as “Corn in transparent bottle” saying that time had come for women to look inwards and help themselves.

Hajia Hajarat Momoh representing women farmers in Adavi Local Government of the state said there was need to eliminate middlemen in government relationship with women and other farmers if government agricultural policies must succeed.

Hamza Aliyu of Initiative for Grassroots Advancement (INGRA) said women farmers should start itemizing their demands for the 2016 budget from now and follow it up with advocacy visits to the appropriate ministries.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives from the state ministry of Agriculture, Rachael Tokula; Ketim Ocheja, coordinator of SHOWFAN and leadership of women farmers in Igalamela-Odolu councils spoke at the occasion.

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