The lawmaker representing Kogi Central senatorial district, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, has called for increased women’s participation in agriculture as the 10th Senate is committed to improving women’s involvement in agriculture.
She made the call on Wednesday while speaking at the 2024 Gender Policy in Agriculture organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with the National Gender Steering Committee for the Implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture.
The program aims to address the gender imbalance in agriculture by providing women with access to resources and developing a national gender-based policy to improve food security.
The senator noted that the Senate would help create laws to enhance women’s participation in agriculture for robust and sustainable agricultural production.
She advised the Ministry of Agriculture to have comprehensive data on women in agriculture across the states of the federation to properly address challenges facing women in agriculture and ensure that the real beneficiaries are targeted in any government program or intervention.
Regarding creating easy access to finance for women in agriculture, she advised the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to collaborate with the Ministry of Women Affairs, SMEDAN, and other government agencies with similar mandates for a holistic approach to improving women’s participation in agriculture in Nigeria.
Furthermore, Natasha called on the federal government to address the secondary stage of agricultural production to help mitigate the loss of farmers.
She stated, “Farming is not just about cultivation and harvest but also processing, packaging, and delivery because that is where some of the money is lost.”
“While we rely on civil societies, there is a limit to what they can do. We don’t expect NGOs to take on government duties. The Ministry is duly funded and adequately staffed, and it has a presence all over the country. Engage with your representatives in various states alongside the representatives of SMEDAN and the Ministry of Women Affairs.”
“My office will be open beyond being a member of the Committee on Agriculture. As the Chairman of the Committee on Local Content, we are also trying to pass a bill on the non-oil and gas sector, which includes agriculture. When the bill becomes an ACT, we will be able to provide the support that you need.”
“Before I got into politics, I was also a social entrepreneur, and it is my earnest desire to generate revenue and jobs from the non-oil and gas sector,” she added.
According to her, “Half of the population of farmers in Nigeria are women,” adding that Nigeria lags behind in terms of benefits given to farmers.