By Edwin Nwanojuo
Some women farmers on Thursday in Abuja urged the Federal Government to facilitate access to credit for women farmers to boost their productivity.
The women farmers, who made the plea in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), decried the lack of access to land, modern farm equipment and the marketing of their produce to prevent post-harvest losses.
According to them, the development of the various value chains to ensure value addition by the government will further boost wealth creation in the sector.
Mrs Zainab Shuabu, a horticulturalist said that in spite of the numerous challenges being faced by the women, they remained the major food producers in the country.
She said that Nigeria would be self-sufficient in food production if adequate support would be given to the women farmers.
Mrs Chinasa Obi, a farmer said that government should make loans available to the female farmers at a single-digit interest rate as loans from the banks attract high interest rates.
According to her, women farmers in particular are experiencing lack of irrigation facility, which has negatively affected their productivity when there is delayed rainfall.
“We are facing lack of irrigation facilities in some states; that is the reason they always have late planting and late harvest,’’ she said.
Obi urged governments at the state and federal levels to provide agriculture extension officers for the female farmers, to advise them appropriately.
“There should be allocation of 10 per cent of the annual budget to the agriculture sector at the national and state levels, as dictated by the Malabo Declaration.
“Besides, government needs to review customary land laws, to enable women to inherit land for the sustainability of farming ventures, and to also allocate land to the smallholder women farmers’ cooperatives.”
Obi advised that female farmers should be included in the decision-making process in policy formulation and implementation in the agriculture sector.