Considering the ever growing Nigerian population, an activist, Mrs Bolanle Aliyu, has called for urgent review of government policies on agriculture to give priority to rural women farmers across the country.
Aliyu made the call on Tuesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
She stressed the need for the government to initiate programmes that would target women in order to increase their productivity.
She said this has become imperative because available records indicated that women are the backbone of the development of rural and national economies.
Aliyu, who is also the Oyo State Governorship candidate of National Interest Party, said in spite of the development gender inequality is therefore, still dominant in agricultural sector and this constitutes a bottleneck to development.
She called for urgent review of government policies on agriculture to address all the elements that place rural women farmers at a disadvantage.
Aliyu said considering the ever growing population of Nigeria and the role of women in feeding the nation, women-in-agriculture must be empowered and given voice to effectively address their challenges.
She said rural women farmers must have better access to farm inputs and credits and all barriers, which include collateral and discrimination must be addressed to further enhance their role.
Aliyu said rural women farmers deserve better recognition and greater appreciation of their tangible contributions to agriculture and rural development and food security.
She called on government to use investment in agricultural technology to redress gender imbalances and to reduce poverty.
“Special focus on women in agriculture with adequate investment strategy will yield a double dividend and increase gender equity at the same time as increasing their overall productivity.
She also noted that when women are empowered and can claim their rights and access to land, leadership, opportunities and choices, economies grow, food security is enhanced and prospects are improved for current and future generations.
Aliyu also listed factors hampering active involvement of rural women in agricultural production to include inadequate technology, poor extension services, inadequate land, lack of access to credit facilities, cultural/religious restrictions, poor health, lack of adequate infrastructure, access to education and training. (NAN)