The senator representing Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, has said the 10th Senate is committed to improving women’s participation in agriculture.
A statement by her media aide, Israel Arogbonlo, said the senator made the promise at this year’s Gender Policy in Agriculture organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with National Gender Steering Committee for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture.
The programme, according to the statement, aims at addressing the gender imbalance in agriculture by providing women with access to resources and developing a national gender-based policy to improve food security.
“Farming is not just about cultivation and harvest but the processing, packaging and delivery, because that is where some of the money is lost,” Akpoti-Uduaghan said.
The Kogi Central senator urged the Federal Government to tackle the secondary stage of agricultural production in order to mitigate losses by farmers.
To enable women in agriculture have access to finance, Akpoti-Uduaghan urged the Agriculture Ministry to form synergy with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and other government agencies that have similar mandates.
She said: “In as much as we rely on the civil societies, there’s a limit to what they can do. We don’t expect the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to take up government duties. The Ministry (of Agriculture) 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 on 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 law, 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.
“Half of the population of farmers (in Nigeria) is women.
“I noticed wherever there are interventions, like fertilisers being given to states, I’ve never seen any being intentionally given out to women. We must take this into consideration.”