Seventy percent of smallholder farmers out of 95% that feed the nation are women, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, has said.
The Minister, who made this known at the opening session of the first Unity Food Fair organised by the National Council for Women’s Society (NCWS) to mark the World Food Day (WFD), said Nigerian women account for 70 percent of agricultural labour, despite challenges of having access to only 20 percent of productive resources.
“Women are highly involved in food foraging in the forest, collecting produce like snails, mushrooms vegetables and spices for native soups from all part of the country. They play important roles from exploration and preservation of our indigenous flora as well as national resources,” he said.
Ogbe, represented by the director, Agriculture Extension Services, Hajia Karima Babangida, also said that the programme was to promote local cuisine and food culture, adding that the WFD is apt as it reflects the present administration’s commitment to unity of the county, diversification of the economy through agriculture, sustainably addressing critical issues of women in agriculture, food and nutrition security in Nigeria.
The national president, NCWS, Mrs Laraba Shoda, said the 2018 food fair is designed for a sustainable food security as, “we grow what we eat and eat what we grow,” adding that it presents a platform where public and private stakeholders, consumers in the sector come together to showcase their products, readymade consumables, fresh, raw, dry and processed local foods.
“This will foster opportunity to deliberate, network and proffer viable and implementable strategies for zero hunger and for the wellbeing and productivity of Nigerians.”
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