Smallholder women farmers in the country have called on the government to design a specific budget that takes care of their agriculture needs and enhances their productivity.
Mrs Hannatu Soni, the national treasurer of Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) while speaking with Daily Trust in Abuja a few days ago highlighted the essence of women’s inclusion in budget allocation.
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“There is no defined budget for women; we need differ from that of youths. We are advocating for a specific budget for women as that would make it easier to track where the funds go.”
Speaking at the capacity building workshop to reposition small scale women agro-business enterprises by the centre for social justice (CSJ), she cited challenges small-scale businesswomen in agriculture encounter which led to a reduction in income generation.
“Small-scale female farmers receive little profits from their products and this is because we do not have direct access to the market. Middle-men buy from us and sell to the market, thereby making earning more than we do.
She called on the government to put the right systems in place and to manufacture storage facilities in order to avoid premature trade of produce.
“Government can come to our aid by linking us to the proper markets and also by providing equipment used in processing the produce. We want to be empowered to process our produce which will add value to our produce thereby having more income to take care of our families.
“If you go to communities, you will find that there is a shortage of storage facilities.
The government can support us by providing storage facilities where we can store produce that we are not ready to sell,” she observed.
Mr Eze Onyekpere, the lead director of the centre for social justice (CSJ), clamoured for the remuneration of small-scale businesswomen as he revealed their prominent role in nationwide food production.
“We discovered that a huge proportion of small-scale women farmers grow about 70 per cent of the food we eat, but the budget hardly recognizes the role they play. Political farmers have hijacked the process and the women farmers do not receive funds.”
He added, “We want to ensure they get sufficient knowledge in order to benefit from the budget and we also want them to be able to make demands because they are the ones that need loans and resources the most.”