The development in agriculture and the future of the sector lies in the midst of two genders of human – man and woman. The process of providing food in the universe won’t be a reality if not because of help meat called woman. Women are virtually participating in every aspect of agriculture irrespective of angle you look at it. In most rural areas in Nigeria, women are most into farming and with their home responsibility, they deserved accolade for consistent helping to provide the home with food and support in all farm entirety. The smallholder farmer holds the production of 98 percent of the food consumed in Nigeria – women farmers occupied 50 percent.
In Nigeria, smallholder women farmers play a crucial role in all aspects of agriculture. They’re actively involved in the process of producing food from farms to putting it on the table at home, also involved in weeding; planting crops, rearing livestock, harvesting, marketing, processing of farm produce, and as well as preparing the food for the family. Agriculture is the widest pride of Nigeria and her economy even with the hurdles facing the sector, the women smallholders are not down to moving and tripping for the sector. Especially those in the rural communities you can hear them saying in Nigerian pidgin, “we women no dey trier for farm oh”.
Despite all these efforts what has been the development of agriculture in Nigeria over the years? Deliberate efforts have been made to improve the agricultural sector in Nigeria by governments, private and some international bodies but all the resultant efforts have not been expected results. Majority of the problems differently faced by the smallholder farmers especially women in Nigeria which include economic, embezzlement of funds, gender inequality, political, and financial constraints.
What are the impacts of smallholder women in Nigerian agriculture?
1. They play a critical role during planting season, nursing, and keeping seed banks.
2. Mostly women in the rural community are very committed to managing their own small farmland – either acquired or inherit through their husbands.
3. They are catalysts in food processing, production, and distribution in the community down to the cities.
4. Though smallholder women farmers are marginalized in the area of access to financial support and special palliatives, they are key in the production of veggies and garden crops.
5. They outnumber men during post-harvest and collection of farm produce.
6. Smallholder women are the backbone in the development of farm production to men.
7. In most rural communities with the limited information available to them the women farmers are more coordinated in having their cluster and organized for carrying out their farm business.
8. They increase the finance value of farm production and indirectly affect the Nation’s economy positively in GDP.
With all these impacts aforementioned, the smallholder women suffered the right to access land for farming because of culture and religious belief in Nigeria, they are marginalised in accessing fund and financial assistance from governments allocated to farmers – a constraint to most of the women, lack of access to rightful information on climate change and new farming practice, they are held back by inaccessibility to farm inputs such as; fertilisers, seeds, farm machines – that would help make them become more successful.
For Nigeria to have the best of agriculture, the governments must see the solution to smallholder women’s common problems and fight corruption between the middlemen in the agriculture sector. There is needed to make policies that will favor women farmers and inclusion in accessing financial supports. Women farmers are the major contributor to the Nigerian agricultural sector and their role in ensuring alleviation of hunger in the middle of COVID-19 deserve every support for them to be more committed in agriculture production for the agro-allied company and contributing to ending food insecurity in Nigeria.
Jimoh, communication officer, Barns Connect, writes via [email protected]