Federal Government has rolled out the distribution of agricultural inputs to about 7,500 smallholder women farmers drawn from North Central States and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, who made the distribution on Thursday in Abuja, said the distribution of the agricultural inputs to women farmers and processors was part of the Federal Government’s measures to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on food production in the country.
He said that the rationale for the distribution of agricultural inputs to women, Nanono said women typically earn less and hold less secure jobs than men.
According to him; “With plummeting economic activity, women are particularly vulnerable to layoffs and loss of livelihoods.
“The resurgence of extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic has revealed women’s precarious economic security.
“Women, who were socially and financially disadvantaged, were disproportionately affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession that followed.
“Weakened social protection systems have left many of the poorest in society unprotected, with no safety nets to weather the storm.”
The minister who underscored the significant roles played by women in the food production value chain in the country, added that there was the need to give them priority attention for the overall national development.
“Women are key to sustainable development and quality of life in the country.
“There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved.
“It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing,” he said.
He assured that his Ministry together with research institutes was working assidously towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in good quality seed and its availability to farmers as a foundation for attaining food and nutrition security as well as industrialisation.
“We are making concerted efforts to improve rural infrastructure such as rural roads, boreholes, irrigation facilities, solar lights, markets, among others, that are enablers for improved agricultural performance for our farmers and processors active in the rural space,” he said.
Some of the items distributed to women include value kits (planting materials, growth enhancer and agro-chemicals) in yam, cassava, potatoes, soybean, rice, maize, sesame, ginger, sorghum/millet, cowpea and horticultural crops.
Also, Nanono alongside the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mohammed Bello, distributed production and processing equipment to the women in a bid to reduce drudgery, improve efficiency, reduce cost of production and improve quality of product and produce from the operations.
In her remarks, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, thanked the Federal Government for providing palliatives to small holder women farmers.
Tallen called on other Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) to accord priority to the welfare of women.
She however called for adequate provision of security to women in their farms, adding that Nigerian women would continue to support the Federal Government in its quest to achieve food security in the country.