The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) Ene Obi has called on partners and donors of the Public Finance for Agriculture (PFA) project to sustain and pay serious attention to it as investment is needed in the Agricultural sector .
According to Ene, Nigeria can feed itself, feed many countries in Africa and Agriculture used to be the main economic stay of Nigeria.
She said Nigeria is so blessed with both natural,human resource and the workforce is extensive and available.
She noted this in Abuja on Wednesday at the at the Public Financing for Agriculture (PFA) Learning and Close Out Meeting adding that Nigeria must diversify its economy and agriculture is a great opportunity for creating employment.
She explained that the PFA Project is designed to catalyse increased quantity and quality of public investment in agriculture to increase the productivity and well-being of women smallholder farmers, their households, and communities in Nigeria.
“This project was able to empower smallholder women farmers and CSOs through capacity building, evidence-based data generation and creation of policy and programmes influencing spaces.
“The Project also initiated the formation of the largest movement of smallholder women farmers in Nigeria; Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) which is giving voice to smallholder women in the 36 States in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Members and non-members of SWOFON across Nigeria now benefiting from government support and services; including trainings, extension services, inputs, credit, grants, agricultural machineries, and facilities which hitherto they never benefitted from.
“It built so many CSOs’ capacity on tracking budgets at different levels for 9 years that was funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
“For example, the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) now covers 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria and reaching over 15,000 cooperatives whose members have influenced agriculture financing policies for smallholder farmers.
Also, President of the Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Mary Afan said the PFA project has brought women farmers to understand that they are involved in the day to day running activities in Agric sector has it has to do with women empowerment.
“Through this project , we can move closely with the government by organizing ourselves, advocating for the increase budget and budget tracking when allocated and other policies to back our advocacy like the Maputo declaration of the African Union that says 10percents of every country should be allocated to the Agric sector.
“This project has given us that space to interact with duty bearers, government and stakeholders and women have truly benefited from it .