The immediate past Chairperson of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Agriculture and Allied Group, Edobong Akpabio, has stated that national productivity will increase with the involvement of women in agriculture.
She stated this in her presentation titled; ‘Role of Women in Agriculture For Sustainable Food Security for National Growth’ at the LCCI symposium in Lagos. Akpabio noted that support for women’s participation should be intentional, stressing that as more women get education, training, awareness and other support to start, grow and scale their agribusiness, there is bound to be an increase in agricultural productivity and efficiency. It is on record that women make up to 43 per cent of the global agricultural labour force, and also Nigerian women account for about 70 per cent of the country’s agricultural workforce and also contribute to 70 per cent of the country’s food production.
But the contribution of women to the agriculture sector in Nigeria is largely under-recognised, and in spite of their enormous tasks, women in agriculture have limited access to land; credit facilities, farm input training and advice, technology and crop insurance among other things. Giving reasons why it is so, Akpabio listed some of the factors responsible to be; male dominated cultures that place women as the inferior gender and subordinate to men, the problem of access to resources and inability of women to access loans for agricultural activities. She also pointed out that no value placed or deliberate data capture on the unpaid contribution of women and that women have not been able to articulate their problems and needs effectively.
On how to increase the potentials of women for greater contribution to sustainable food security and national growth, the agriculture expert said women should be given recognition for the great work they do across the agricultural value chain, stating that women are said to be responsible for up to 70 per cent of the Nigeria’s agricultural production activity, therefore, their contributions to the nation’s economy is vital. She called for more encouragement for women’s greater participation in farmers’ groups, clusters and cooperatives. According to her, the involvement of women in agricultural activities and their empowerment can help to reduce poverty and support community development efforts. She pointed out that increasing women’s access to agricultural training, markets, skills transfer, and knowledge, have also been known to influence socio-economic power dynamics.
Women are involved in nearly every activity in the agriculture value chain, whether in production, processing, distribution, and sales to the final consumer. She also called for more engagement of women in agriculture, as major stakeholders in the sector; enact policies that address the issues that they face in their agribusiness and also ensure that policy administrators are committed to a corrupt-free implementation of noble policies and regulations. Speaking further she said that the involvement and contribution of women in agriculture will increase when the right infrastructure is in place, stressing that more attention must be paid to road infrastructure, power and energy, security, and input standards, among others.