UNDP, GEF determined to ensure women, youth inclusiveness in agric

Women and youth cannot be excluded if Nigeria is to achieve food security, especially on rice and groundnut production, hence the stakeholders meeting facilitated by Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) on youth and women inclusiveness on rice and groundnut production. JOHN OBA, report.

Summit focus

The clamour for mechanisation in attending food security seem to be leaving the women and youth out of the calculation  in the production of rice and groundnut value chains. This concern prompted the stakeholders meeting facilitated by Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) in conjunction with United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), and  Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to brainstorm on reducing gender disparities in agricultural production which substantially affect overall sector performance.

The meeting was also to implement a long term sustainable and resilient food production system in Nigeria, that builds greater community resilience and link them to a solid agricultural financing and marketing through the GEF-IAP-FS project.

Component three of the GEF-IAP- FS project is on addressing gender disparities with expected outcome of reducing this in agricultural production and improved food security for poor men, women and youth, while the output would enhance food security for sustainable household livelihood and empowered youth actively involved in agriculture.

Demand driven agriculture

Speaking at the one-day stakeholders summit on groundnut and rice value chain, actors aimed at advancing inter-state food commodity value chain and fashion out how women and youth can be better assisted in the sector last Thursday in Abuja.

The Executive Director, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), Hajia Salamatu Garba, called for a demand driven agricultural policy in terms of women and youth, saying it is time to think of the less privileged women and youth and also plan affordable policy for them.

She said WOFAN targets human development adding that agriculture in Nigeria should be demand driven especially for both women and youth.

“WOFAN want human development in a nutshell, we want agriculture to be demand driven in terms of women and youth, we want an implementable programmes for the youth and women, that is why we are taking a giant stride to make sure that it is done.

“For instance, in the value chains of rice, we bring giangantic machines that would do the work of 2000 youths and women,and there is no facilities for the women, so we are weeding them out of the value chains, so we are bringing everybody together so that this meeting will think of the less privilege people and also do affordable implements for them.

“So that there will be policies that will ensure that they get loans for purchase of this small small implements.

She said the seven States were selected based on needs,” she said

She said the summit was to obtain information from producers/millers /aggregators/ Researchers/ off-takers and financial institutions about quality and specifications of rice paddy, groundnut along the value chain to open up access to markets and mainstream gender into the commodity value chains.

According to her, “The preparation started four years ago but we zone it to north east, north west, and north central as a pilot, and in each state we have two local governments that we are piloting but all together we have total of 34,000 hectares of land we are piloting. Each farmer will be having one hectare and an economic of production will be done for them on that hectares, seeds will be given to them.

“We want the policy that will make them get loan for those small things they are doing and fit in the system.”

The summit was also aimed at bringing together a total of 350 actors along the rice and groundnut value chains from the targeted seven states under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) platform, where participants will discuss and establish linkages through the creation of innovation platforms (IP) which will provide sustainable structures for advancement of a win-win interstate food commodity value chains for the rice and groundnut.

Funding 

The National Coordinator, National Programme Management Unit (NPMU), Mr. Abubakar Garba, said the federal government has set aside $50 million aside the UNDP $7 million for Integrated Approach Programme (IAP-FS project) targeted at deepening food security in Nigeria.

Abubakar said that the IAP-FS project which is a continuation of other developmental programme in Agriculture is aimed at building greater community resilience to a solid agricultural financing and marketing in Nigeria.

“This programme is implemented in 12 countries but not all are implemented by UNDP, some by IFAD, FAO and other United Nation Agencies.

“But for Nigeria, it is UNDP that is supporting the programme which is being implemented by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with Federal Ministry of Environment.

“As Nigeria, we believe we are supposed to be part of the programme because the programme is not reinventing the wheel as such, it is a continuation of other developmental agricultural programmes.

And on the reason why the programme is focusing on rice and groundnut, Garba said, “You will recall that there was a time we were having the groundnut pyramids in northern Nigeria, and with the vision of the country trying to stop the importation of rice and to see that we are producing rice to the best of our ability, with this two reasons, I believe it is not out of place to say that we are adopting rice and groundnut.”

On the issue of value addition, he said the programme just started a year ago and it will rum for five years hence by 2022, the impacts of the programmes will be seen.

“But I want to tell you that as at now and based on some of the sensitisation we have done, people have adopted some of the clear production networks which have been brought by this project, and we are also monitoring this project to ensure they are doing it the way we taught them.

“And we believe that at the end of the season, we will see that the yield has increased and  that people are happy with what we have achieved,” he said.

He said the value of the project is $7million dollars having a counterpart funding of $50 million from the Federal Government for the next five years.

Abubakar speaking further said that efforts are being made to see that local producers of rice and groundnut are encouraged to give their best in the production process.

“So by 2022, we will start to look at what we have done and what are the impacts we have created. I want to tell you as at now, based on the sensitisation we have done, people have adopted some of the acclaimed production method that has been brought by this project.

“We believe at the end of the season, we will see that the yield has increased and people are happy as well’’ he said.

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