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Nigeria canvasses gender equality in access to agricultural inputs, land

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Nigeria has called on African leaders to make deliberate policies that would improve women access to agricultural inputs and boost their returns to farm owners.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the call in Madrid, Spain at the 2020 International Tourism Trade Fair.

Speaking at the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa which was on the sideline of the fair, Mohammed said such policies would offer livelihood and empowerment for women and reduce gender-based poverty gap.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the minister was speaking on the contributions of creative industry and gastronomy (practice of choosing, cooking and eating food) toward alleviating poverty in Africa.

Mohammed said gastronomy derived its existence from agriculture because food must be produced before being cooked and eaten.

“Women dominate the processing of agricultural products into food, as well as dominate the cooking process.

“The financial empowerment that flows from this is critical to reducing gender-based work gap and also reinforcing gender equality,” he said.

The minister noted that food culture around the world served as an important part of tourism experiences and a unique source of cultural experience, as well as economic and social diversity.

He added that gastronomy tourism contributed positively to many levels of the tourism value chain, such as local food manufacturing and a platform for the promotion of cultures through cuisine.

Speaking on the Nigeria experience, the minister said that women dominated the gastronomy sector all across the country, with the exception of a few states in the northern part of the country.

He told the gathering that agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s rural areas, providing not only food for subsistence farmers, but also income that sustained livelihoods.

He said agricultural sector witnessed significant growth in Nigeria between 2018 and 2019, recording average real GDP growth rate of 2.4 per cent in the first three quarters of 2019, compared with 2.0 per cent in 2018.

Mohammed said the growth rate for agriculture was higher than the overall economy’s real GDP growth rate of 2.2 per cent in 2019, meaning the agriculture sector grew faster than the overall economy during this period.

“Between 2018 and 2019, Nigeria’s ranking on the Global Food Security Index rose to 13th in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, with improvements observed in food availability, quality and safety.

“It is also an essential source of livelihood, providing income needed to sustain health and well-being in agricultural households,” he said.

He said rural households, which are typically agrarian, tend to rely on agriculture-related income for their livelihoods, fighting poverty and malnutrition.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Tukur Muntari.

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