Lecturers want govts to boost food production by supporting women in agriculture

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By Oluwakemi Oladipo
Lagos, Aug.27,2020 Dr. Olubunmi Adewusi, a lecturer at Caleb University in Imota, Lagos State, has called on both the Federal and state governments to support women who are into agriculture.

She said such overtures would help to increase food production capacity and food security for the citizens of the country.

Adewusi said this at the 2nd webinar series of the Movement for Women in Lagos State Institutions for Good Governance (MOWLAS) on Thursday in Lagos.

Newsmen reports that the theme of the webinar series was: “Post COVID-19: Role of Women in Gender Equity and Agriculture”.

The MOWLAS Webinar Series was convened by Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, former acting Vice- Chancellor, Lagos State University and now the Director, Directorate of Advancement of LASU(LASUDA).

It was moderated by Prof. Bidemi Lafiaji-Okuneye,Provost, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED).

Adewusi said that women accounted for about 50 per cent of players in the agricultural sector.

“Women are directly and indirectly involved in crop and livestock farming, transportation, processing of farm produce, marketing and sales.

“They also play the role of providers in many homes, and responsible for the feeding of the household from their farming practices.

“When women farmers are supported and empowered with the right resources: such as education, information, finance and land, they are capable of exponentially increasing the nation’s food production.

“Women must receive adequate support such as access to funds and other resources in equal proportion with men, amongst others.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture are huge and far-reaching, it has compounded the issues of hunger and food insecurity in Africa,” Adewusi said.

Also speaking, Dr. Victoria Adenle-Saheed, a lecturer at the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, urged governments and stakeholders to address the setback usuall experienced by women practising agriculture.

She said this could be achieved by protecting the rights of women according to the law.

Adenle-Saheed said that governments needed to ensure that women have access to enough farmlands for farming purposes.

” Government must assist them with finance, free healthcare, farming equipments, and other incentives such as maternity leave and pension scheme.

“Women are being marginalised in spite of their producing power which ranges between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of foodstuffs in most developing countries.

“Denied land ownership, low illiteracy rate, low bargaining power, and lack of access to credit facilities affect women’s successful participation in the sector.

“All these problems have now been worsened by the effect of COVID-19,”she said.

Prof. Adeola Animashaun, the Director of the Lagos State University Centre for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development (CESSED), said that in spite of women constituting 50 per cent of farmers worldwide, they only own 20 per cent of lands for farming.

Animashaun said that also women had less access to credit and information.

She classified the role of women in agriculture into three which were contributor,collaborator and sole or main proprietor.

“Women are contributors because they focus on housework, ensure how to start and run a commercial activity, have little mobility and no decision-making.

“They are also collaborators because they jointly own and manage farms, participate in decision making around farm activities, have small businesses and interested in growing their businesses.

“For the sole or main proprietor, someone who has her own income-generating business, provides inputs into family financial decisions and wants to invest more,”Animashaun said.

She added that female farmers could get finance for their agriculture activities through personal saving, equity, grants, commercial loans from banks, revolving funds and agric value chain.

“On managing risks in the business,I will advise farmers to maintain a separate bank account in the name of the business.

” They should also take insurance, maintain proper records of their incomes and expenditures and take proactive steps to mitigate the risks associated with farming,” Animashaun said

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