‘Bloodletting disservice to agric development’

PHOTO: theguardian.com

Decry exposure to harm, urge better deal
Women farmers have sought for friendly policies in the agriculture sector, saying rustling and the recurrent clashes between farmers and herdsmen were exposing them to harm and endangering the growth of the agriculture sector.

Rising from a one-day outreach, organised by the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) in collaboration with Cara Development Foundation and the African Youth Development Foundation at Umukabia Ogodo in Ngor Okpala council area of Imo State to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, they lamented that the herdsmen/farmers menace was becoming a disincentive to women farmers, particularly the young women who are building career path in agriculture.

Titled Time is Now: Transform Lives of Rural Women in Small Businesses and Agriculture, the event showcased the contributions of women farmers to the rural economy.

They appealed for effective interventions to stem the tide with a view to encouraging young women to embrace agriculture.

According to PIND’s Knowledge and Communication Manager, Mrs. Chichi Nnoham-Onyejekwe, the outreach drew attention to the constraints limiting women from maximising the immense opportunities in the agricultural value chains.

She said: “Rural women account for 70 per cent of labour in the agriculture sector, and 80 per cent of food production in Nigeria. About 40 per cent of women in the Niger Delta are into agriculture.

“Through this awareness, PIND wants to spotlight these women and attract key stakeholders to take actions that would help to boost productivity and grow their farming businesses.”

The women farmers from Imo and neighbouring states testified to increased knowledge, improved agricultural skills and practices as a result of support provided by PIND and other development partners, displaying their agricultural tools and products.

The participants noted that PIND had added value and continue to add value to agricultural development and peace-building in the oil-rich region, especially with the Partners for Peace (P4P) Initiative in rural communities.

They added: “Support included trainings, establishment of demonstration farms, and introduction of technologies. These have resulted in the adaptation of more appropriate cultivation methods, increased yield and income for the women farmers and their communities.”

The women farmers sought support from government and development institutions to facilitate their access to inputs such as fertilisers, improved seedlings and extension services.

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