The Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), a coalition of women farmers associations, has called on government at all levels to mechanise farming in order to enhance agricultural production in the country.
SWOFON’s spokesperson, Mrs Felicia Ukwu, made the call in Abuja at the commemoration of the World Food Day with the theme, “Water is Life, water is Food. Leave No One Behind” organised by Oxfam in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Ukwu, who frowned at the manual farming system in the country, added that one of the surest ways to ensure food security and affordability was to adopt mechanisation.
“It is aimed at shedding light on the millions of people globally who lack the means to afford a nutritious diet and the crucial necessity of consistent access to wholesome food.”
Ukwu also identified herder-farmer conflicts as a major security challenge affecting the farmers across the country, adding that addressing the challenge was key to ensure food and nutrition security.
She blamed poor food production as well as hike in cost of food nationwide on security challenges.
She, however, called on the government to prioritise the security of farmers in order to ensure food security.
“l wish government can take care of security, protect farmers, provide us with the needed implements for mechanisation, so that we can provide enough food to feed the nation. At the moment, women farmers are facing a lot of challenges going to the farms, so this needs urgent attention so that we can have enough food in circulation,” she said.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, during the event said that on the heels of President Bola Tinubu’s declaration of emergency on food security under the ‘Renewed Hope’ Agenda, food production remains one of the top priorities of this administration, and there is no going back.
He said, “Each year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) comes up with a theme. The theme for this year’s World Food Day is ‘Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind.”
The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, went on farm visits at Gwagwalada, Kuje and other places in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja as part of activities to mark the WFD.