By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
Kogi State women farmers have called on Federal and State governments to allocate land and grant ownership and control to small holder women farmers towards achieving Zero-hunger by 2030.
The State Coordinator, Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), Hajia Sefiya Yahaya, made the call in her “Charter of presented to the State Government during the 2018 Annual Women Farmers Forum in Lokoja.
The forum was organised by Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) with support from ActionAid Nigeria (AAN).
Yahaya said that tradition and other hindrances militating against women ownership and control of land had impacted negatively on the smallholder women farmers’ capacity to produce.
She feared that it would equally inhibit attainment of Zero-hunger by 2030 if not checked adding that once the demand charter was met, they would be enhanced production activities by the smallholder women farmers.
Yahaya also urged that agriculture sector budgetary processes should be open and transparent with allocation of 10 per cent of Federal and State annual budgets to Agriculture in line with the 2003 Maputo Declaration.
She urged government to intervene and relax the conditions for women farmers to access credit facilities from financial institutions for agricultural purposes saying, “without credit, we cannot move forward.”
The SWOFON Coordinator also reiterated the need to engage women extension agents for the women farmers to enable them learn new technologies and methods of farming to improve their yields.
Yahaya expressed appreciation to ActionAid Nigeria and PIBCID for their intervention saying, “ActionAid is our mother and hope. They have built our capacity, supported us over the years and this forum is their initiative.”
The woman farmer also tasked government on community access and feeder roads and urged that roads be constructed in communities to enable the women farmers evacuate their produce to the markets among other demands.
Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, the state Commissioner for Agriculture receiving the document, said government had intervened in several ways to better the lot of smallholders farmers and would continue to do so.
Oloruntoba, represented by Alhaji Alhassan Iyaji, Coordinator of Commercial Agriculture in the Ministry, explained that even before charter of demands, government had embarked on clearing of land in the three senatorial districts for allocation to small scale farmers.
He urged the women farmers to take advantage of the various farm implements and input procured by the government through the ministry to scale up their production activities.
The representative of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) Sule Aminu at the forum, said the bank was passing through a transition period of restructuring to transfer ownership of the bank to the farmers.
Aminu said that arrangements had been concluded with the Bureau for Enterprises to float shares of the bank on 40 per cent for the farmers at the end of which exercise, they were expected to take partial ownership of the bank with their 40 per cent equity shares.
He urged the farmers to commence transaction with the bank by opening personal and cooperative accounts to facilitate their access to credit for the next wet season farming.