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April 17, 2024

SWOFON Seeks Govt Intervention on Worsening Food Insecurity 

The Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) has raised concerns over the dire impact of the prevailing economic challenges and food crises on smallholder women farmers in Nigeria.

Despite President Bola Tinubu’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security in July 2023, the situation continues to deteriorate, necessitating immediate government intervention.

Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals a staggering food inflation rate of 35.41% in January 2024, compared to 24.32% recorded in January 2023. This spike in food inflation has been attributed to rising prices of essential commodities such as bread, cereals, tubers, oils, fats, fish, meat, and fruits.

Additionally, the 2024 Cadre Harmonise Food Security report predicts that millions of Nigerians will face food crisis situations in the coming months, exacerbating the plight of smallholder women farmers.

However, a rapid survey conducted by SWOFON across the country highlights the myriad challenges faced by smallholder women farmers amidst the economic hardship and food inflation. 

“These challenges include escalating transportation costs for farm produce and inputs, rising expenses for livestock feed and medication, exclusion from government palliatives, skyrocketing prices of agricultural inputs, increased labor costs, insecurity hindering access to farmlands, and a decline in crop yields and market access.”

SWOFON emphasizes the deteriorating livelihoods of smallholder women farmers, who struggle to provide food, access healthcare, and afford their children’s education. Climate change exacerbates these challenges, with insufficient support for mitigation efforts.

However, to address these pressing issues, SWOFON presents recommendations to the Nigerian government. These recommendations include massive investments in agriculture, revival of the Growth Enhancement and Support Scheme (GESS) to provide subsidies and support to smallholder farmers, timely release of farm inputs for the rainy season, special palliatives tailored for smallholder women farmers, grants and credit facilities to alleviate the food crisis, gender-sensitive climate change adaptation strategies, establishment of cottage processing and storage facilities, promotion of agroecology and sustainable food production, support for irrigation farming systems and infrastructure, declaration of a state of emergency on insecurity affecting farmers, establishment of grain reserves and fair grain purchasing prices, provision of subsidized transportation for farm produce, accessible low-interest credit for smallholder women farmers, facilitation of land ownership for women farmers, and investment in gender-friendly farming machinery.

They further urge swift and decisive action from the government to address the urgent needs of smallholder women farmers and ensure food security for all Nigerians.

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