Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) has called for involvement of small holder women farmers in agricultural budget processes in the country.
The National Coordinator of the group, Omaboyowa Roberts, made this call on the sideline of a three day training workshop for representatives of small holder women farmers, in Uke, Nasarawa State on Wednesday.
She said the workshop was organised as part of plans to commence a nationwide campaign to draw the attention of relevant stakeholders to the need for women farmers’ inclusiveness in decision making processes.
The SWOFON national coordinator noted that besides non-inclusiveness in budget processes, women farmers were faced with several challenges hindering their productivity, adding that it was time for those challenges to be tackled.
She said the campaign was scheduled to commence on Oct. 15 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“We are here to train the 36 state coordinators and plan toward our national campaign.
“SWOFON is going to have a national campaign to present small holder women farmers’ demand on the access to inputs and also on the access to gender friendly machinery.
“What we plan to do is to represent and amplify the voices of small holder women farmers across Nigeria, and we have over 1,44,000 cooperatives, hence, our campaign is going to be representing over 2,160,000 farmers across Nigeria.
“So, we are going to have our federal campaign. The start off point is going to be at the International Conference Centre. We will march to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Women Affairs with over 2,000 women farmers.
“The plan is to show evidence of the kind of challenges women farmers are facing with respect to inputs and gender friendly equipment, which we will now submit to the director,” she said.
Roberts said that the campaign would equally hold across the five focal states, which are Oyo, Anambra, Nasarawa, Niger and Jigawa.
She explained that there is a desire to see that there is increased budgetary allocation and that women farmers are included in budget processes and procedures.
According to her, the benefits of getting allocated access and inputs should also be given to the small holder women farmers.
“The 15th of October is the International Rural Women’s Day. We will be celebrating these women by listening to their voices, by creating a safe space for them to have a road show and a campaign.
“We need to tell the Federal Government that women farmers make up over 70 to 80 per cent of the farmers producing food.
“Their voices deserve to be heard and their decision should be included in whatever policy or budget decision that are taking place at the federal level, state level, and local government level.
“We are also going to have the social media campaign with a hash tag, so that the women can reach out to the global community on the importance of increases budget allocation to accessing agricultural inputs and gender friendly equipment,” she said.
Roberts also expressed optimism that the campaign would help chart a new course for small holder women farmers in the country.
Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo/Felix Ajide