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July 20, 2024

 Women Farmers Say Insecurity Responsible for High Food Prices 

Women farmers under the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have cited insecurity as a key factor driving the rise in food prices.

The group revealed that members often have to pay off bandits to access their farmlands. For months, Nigerians have been grappling with soaring prices of basic food and services. 

Speaking during an interview with newsmen in Abuja, the SWOFON coordinator in Gwagwalada area council, Mrs Olabisi Ogedengbe noted that sometimes men in the community negotiate with bandits, offering them money to allow farmers access to their lands. “Aside from the money, sometimes we cook for them and give them some of our crops after farming so that they wouldn’t harm us. Some of the bandits even go as far as looking after our farmlands,” she said.

She warned that food scarcity and price hikes could worsen in 2025 if the government fails to address security issues nationwide. “We are still buying one Mudu of beans for N3,000; it may be N5,000 by next year if care is not taken,” she noted.

Ogedengbe identified Kuje, Gaube, Abaji, and Gwagwalada as areas where insecurity severely impacts farmers, adding that many farmers have been killed by bandits in these regions. 

She however, expressed concern that the livelihood of smallholder women farmers is deteriorating, making it increasingly difficult for them to provide food, access healthcare, and pay for their children’s education.

“FCT women farmers face significant barriers to land ownership and control. Moreover, some farmlands are taken over by the government for commercial purposes, limiting our ability to invest in and benefit from agricultural activities,” she explained.

She highlighted disparities in access to quality seeds, fertilizers, water pumps, solar boreholes, Nafsak sprayers, and other inputs between male and female farmers. “The rising costs of feeds, medication, and other agricultural inputs for livestock are severely affecting smallholder women farmers, threatening our ability to sustain our livestock farming operations as we are not able to afford these essentials for our farming activities,” she concluded.

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