The women farmers in Nasarawa State in a group photograph shortly after the press conference held in Lafia
From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Women farmers in Nasarawa State have urged government at all levels to take proactive measures to safeguard farmers towards ensuring food security.
The women farmers drawn from several group made the call on Tuesday at a press conference in order to demand for access to agricultural support services held in Lafia.
Speaking at the press conference, the representative of Village Savings and Loans Association ( VSLA), Mrs Cecilia Nekre, said insecurity such as kidnapping, farmers/herders crisis and other forms of violence against women were the major problem facing women farmers in the state.
” Our major activity is farming and nowadays, the issue of insecurity has been our major challenge. We find it difficult to go to our farms due to kidnapping, killings, herdsmen attacks and even rape cases . These issues have created fear in the lives of our women farmers, thereby reducing food production.
“We are the backbone of the nation and we support our husbands in providing food for our families but the issue of insecurity has become a threat to us.
” Even when we farm, the herdsmen graze on the farms and destroy our crops and rape some of our women farmers,” she said.
She, therefore called on lawmakers to enact laws that would protect women farmers from gender based violence, even as she called on security agencies to arrest perpetuators of such crimes to serve as deterrent to others who may want to do so.
Also speaking, the representative of Ogbonge Women Farmers group, Mrs Patricia Onoja appealed to the state government to remove bottlenecks that limit women access to finance in order to increase agricultural activities in the state.
” The government should increase budgetary allocations on agriculture so that mechanisation and technology can come in to better the agricultural sector instead of the old methods of farming,” Onoja said.
She also urged the government to include women in decision making for gender balance.
On their parts, the representatives of Association of Small Scale Agro-Producers in Nigeria ( ASSAPIN) in the state, Mrs Justina Anjugu and that of Women in Agriculture, Mrs Ruth Joseph, decried the effects of climate change on food security in the state, saying that issues such as flooding and harsh weather were affecting farming activities in the state
They , therefore called on the government to build capacity of women by training them on modern methods of farming and provide adequate information to farmers to boost agricultural production in the state for the overall good of the society.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Young Men’s Christian Association ( YMCA), Mada Hills Nigeria, Mr. Ango Adamu said the OXFAM was supporting a project known as ” Together Against Poverty ( TAP 2) in collaboration with YMCA to support small holder farmers to make progress in agriculture.
” This project is also to help government make progress towards meeting comprehensive African Agricultural Development commitment and to put in place measures and strategies to build the resilient of small scale women farmers a long issues of COVID-19, conflicts and issues around climate change among others,” he said.
The Voice reports that the press conference tagged “Demand for Access to Agricultural Support Services” was organised by OXFAM in collaboration with Ogbonge Women and other women farmers’ groups including SWOFON , ASSAPIN, VSLA among others, as part of the implemention of the “Together Against Poverty ( TAP2) ” project, funded by OXFAM.