The lawmaker representing Kogi Central senatorial district, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, said on Wednesday that the 10th Senate is committed to improving women’s participation in agriculture.
In a statement by her Chief Press Secretary, Israel Arogbonlo, Senator Natasha who was speaking at the 2024 Gender Policy in Agriculture organised by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with National Gender Steering Committee for the Implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture, said Senate would enact a law on women participation in agriculture.
According to her, “the programme 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 to create laws to improve women’s participation in Agriculture for robust and sustainable production in Agricultural sector.
“Farming is not just about cultivation and harvest but the processing, packaging and delivery because that is where some of the money is lost,” she said.
The Kogi lawmaker called on the federal government to tackle the secondary stage of agricultural production to help mitigate the loss of farmers.
She advised the Ministry of Agriculture to have comprehensive data of women in agriculture across the 36 States of the federation so as to be properly guided in tackling challenges facing women in Agriculture and ensure the real beneficiaries are targeted in any government programme or intervention.
On creating easy access to finance for women in Agriculture, the lawmaker advised the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to form synergy with the Ministry of Women Affairs, SMEDAN, and other government agencies that have similar mandates for a holistic approach to improve women’s participation in Agriculture in Nigeria.
“In as much as we rely on the civil societies, there’s a limit to what they can do, we don’t expect the NGOs to take up government duties, the Ministry is duly funded and adequately staffed, and you have 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 Committee of Agriculture. As the Chairman of Committee on Local Content, we are also trying to pass a bill on non-oil and gas sector
which includes Agriculture. When the bill becomes an ACT, we will be able to create the support that you need.
“Before I got into politics, I was also a social entrepreneur and it’s my earnest desire to see that we generate revenue and jobs from non-oil and gas sector,” she added.
According to her, “Half of the population of farmers (in Nigeria) are women”, adding that Nigeria is on the downside when it comes to benefits that are given to farmers.
“I noticed wherever there are interventions being given to states like fertilizers, I’ve never seen any intentionally being given out to women, we must take this into consideration,” the lawmaker advised.