Agricultural stakeholders have called for policy reforms geared towards eliminating gender-based discrimination and promoting equal access to resources, services, technologies, markets and opportunities necessary to deepening women participation in sustainable agriculture and rural development, cope with challenges, and benefit from opportunities in the agricultural sector.
The development was contained in a communique released at the end of a one-day National Gender Policy in agriculture forum organised by the National Gender Steering Committee for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture (NGSC-NGPA) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) held in Abuja on Wednesday 31st January 2024.
The stakeholders identified gender-based violence, post-harvest losses, and limited access to finance, land and other productive resources among critical issues that affect the active participation and quality of influence of smallholder farmers particularly women, youths and persons with disability.
According to them, climate change and insecurity are also critical issues that have huge impacts on small scale agriculture as well as food and nutrition security in the country, adding that these challenges must be urgently addressed to prevent and mitigate food shortage.
The communique read in part, “Currently, there is no credible database on the number, needs, achievements and challenges of women, youth and persons with disability that are involved in the agricultural sector. This makes it difficult to plan and implement actions that address their core needs and aspirations.
“The National Gender Policy in Agriculture is not only meant to address the gender gaps in agriculture, but also to address socio-cultural practices such as gender-based violence particularly against women, youth and persons with disability.
“The Nigeria Governors Forum and the Nigeria Governors Wives Forum are strategic platforms for enhancing grassroots’ participation in the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture; and
“The National Gender Policy in Agriculture Forum is aimed at scaling up and ensuring optimal implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture towards an enhanced food and nutrition security. It provided a strategic opportunity for stakeholders in the agricultural sector particularly those working on gender-related areas to share good practices and key lessons from the field especially as they relate to the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture.
Meanwhile, AgroNigeria gathered that participants at the forum included Parliamentarians from the National Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries of Federal and States Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) and other government MDAs, representatives of the diplomatic community, private sector, donor and civil society organizations, farmers organizations, and the media.