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Women farmers win millions as Oxfam, stakeholders urge government’s support

The Oxfam in Nigeria has urged government to prioritise working with other stakeholders for policies that would facilitate women’s access to resources and services including…

The Oxfam in Nigeria has urged government to prioritise working with other stakeholders for policies that would facilitate women’s access to resources and services including land rights to boost their participation in agriculture and boost food security in the country.

The Oxfam in Nigeria Country Director, Mr John Makina made the call at the Female Food Hero Award 2024 also tagged ‘Ogbonge Women’ organized in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Monday in Abuja.

This is as three women emerged as the Oxfam ‘Female Food Hero 2024’, with Mrs Grace Okwor emerging first, winning N1,200,000; Mrs Abdullahi Altine Lucy coming second with N800,000 and Mrs Folashade Olaniyan Josephine, emerged third and winning N600,000, while other finalists get other rewards and plagues.

Makina at the Awards and Policy dialogue with the theme: ‘Promoting the Role of Women Food Producers and Their Contribution to Food Security in Nigeria 2024’, said access to land and finance remained major challenges for women farmers in the country and which must be addressed.

“It is reported that about 70% of women are taking the lead in food production. This statistic is not unique to Nigeria but applies to many countries in Africa, where women are at the forefront of agriculture.
“Women are involved in every step of the farming process. From land preparation, where the majority of people in the fields are women, to planting, weeding, and harvesting, women are the primary workforce. They also handle post-harvest activities such as processing, grading, and taking the produce to the market.
“However, women face significant challenges, especially in accessing loans. When applying for a loan, women are often asked about their marital status. If married, they are typically required to bring their husbands as guarantors.
“This requirement poses a significant barrier and raises questions about whether it truly provides opportunities for women. These challenges need to be addressed,” Makina said.
Also, President of the Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Farouk Mudi said the primary obstacle remains the difficulty in acquiring land without adequate funds and the complexities associated with obtaining loans due to high interest rates and unaffordable collateral requirements.
Mudi, represented by the FCT chairman of AFAN, Ifraimu Dauda, said that one common requirement from lenders was a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), which often demanded a substantial financial outlay, placing it beyond the reach of many struggling farmers.
“This financial barrier is a significant hurdle for both men and women farmers. However, women face additional societal challenges that often hinder their independence and growth opportunities. Women farmers have nonetheless made notable contributions to agricultural development, both in Nigeria and globally,” he said.
He urged government to implement measures that facilitate land access for all farmers, as such support would not only empower women farmers but also significantly promote the agricultural sector in Nigeria, ensuring sustainable development and food security.

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