By Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
The Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) has called for the urgent review of the Kwara State Agricultural Master Plan for benefit of farmers and socio-economic development of the state.
The call was made by the Coordinator of WARDC, Lola Fademi who lead a delegate of Small Holder Women Farmers in the state on an advocacy visit to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Adegoke Bamidele, on Thursday.
While stressing that the master plan is due for a review, the coordinator said empowerment of smallholder farmers should be captured in the new plan.
She also solicited gender responsive policy that will meet the needs of farmers’ particular women, as well as budget tailored towards that direction.
“There is a need for a gender responsive policy that meets the need of farmers; abled and physically challenged.
“There is need for a gender responsive budget that will back the gender responsive policy, “she added.
Fademi decried limited access of women farmers to farmland, inputs and modern equipment, adding that the Fulani herders have constituted serious security activities of this category farmers.
“There are salient issues that need to be addressed such as limited access to input, which they can only get through middlemen. Also, they cannot afford modern equipment among others and this has affected their productivity, ” she emphasised.
The coordinator, who noted that smallholder women farmers form larger percentage of food producers in the state, urged government to promptly address the challenges confronting them.
Earlier, the representative of Small Holder Women Farmers, Kwara State, Mrs. Fatima Garba lamented that their concerns and needs have failed to attract government attention.
“Despite government avowed commitment to drive the economy through agriculture and expand food production, women farmers who constitute 70 percent labour in food production, processing and marketing, are yet to have special assistance and support necessary to realize their potentials in agriculture,” she stated.
Garba, however, demanded from the state government policy that takes in consideration the role and contribution of small Holder Women farmers.
Others include: Gender responsive budget; seedling distribution of 60/40 ration in favour of small holder women farmers to men; mahineries to reduce drudgery; market access, security; access to farmland; employment of female extension workers and provision of farm settlement scheme.
Responding the Commissioner for Agriculture assured that the master plan, which expired earlier in the year, will be reviewed soon to conform with present realities.
He disclosed that the state government will benefit 118m dollars modern equipment from China before end of the year, to address the problem of limited access to equipment by farmers.
The commissioner who noted that women farmers are not coordinated, charged them to come under one umbrella so as to get support from government.
He stated that the present administration in the stay place premium on the empowerment of farmers, adding that the state government has fashioned out sustainable policies for agricultural development.