By Suzan Edeh
Women Farmers under the auspices of Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON), Bauchi State have called on the State government and policy makers in the agricultural sector of the state to improve and increase access to agricultural inputs and services for smallholder women farmers.
SWOFON stakeholders made this disclosure on Wednesday during the presentation of the community scorecard on smallholder women farmers’ access to Agricultural inputs for the year 2019 -2022 organized by Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria and Small Scale Women Farmers Organization (SWOFON), held at the Development Exchange Center (DEC) office in Bauchi.
Speaking during the meeting, the Bauchi State Coordinator of SWOFON, Marka Abbas, said that from the presentation of the community scorecard, smallholder women farmers’ access to Agricultural inputs was very discouraging, calling on the Bauchi state government to support women farmers in the state by ensuring increased investment and qualitative spending in agriculture that targets smallholder farmers, particularly women farmers.
She expressed worry over the continued decline in budgetary allocations to agriculture by the Bauchi State government, saying that 99.9 percent of women farmers are not accessing agricultural inputs.
“The data collected in the community score card on smallholder Women Farmers access to agricultural farm inputs is a real reflection of the Plight of women farmers in the state. From the score card, you will see that 65 percent of smallholder women farmers indicated that their various cooperatives members rate the impact of government agricultural farm inputs on livelihood of smallholder women farmers as “Not at all” as the inputs received did not have any impact on the livelihood while 35 percent indicated that the impact of the input distributed by the government was “Low extent,” She said.
A representative of Fahimta and the Programme Officer Scaling up Public Investment in Agriculture (SUPIA), Faith Adidu said that the essence of the meeting was to disseminate the information in the community score card on access to agricultural inputs to the relevant MDAs and stakeholders in the agricultural sector of the state in order to address the challenges women farmers face in regard to access to agricultural inputs.
“From what was discussed today, the stakeholders are aware of the women farmers structural organizations in the state, but the women need to put more efforts in their subsequent Advocacy outreaches because things have changed and there are various offices now championing agricultural activities in the state, so they have to change their way of approach in order for their issues to be captured,” She said.
In his contribution at the meeting, the Director Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning in the state, Rufai Ahmad, who was represented by Fanus Sadan a staff of the ministry noted that even though the yearly budget for agriculture was declining, women farmers in the state should put more efforts in lobbying for what they want, stressing that other sectors of the state such as education, health are also demanding the attention of the government.
Also Speaking the Chairman House committee on agriculture in the Bauchi state House of Assembly, Hon Umar Yakubu, represented by the Secretary Agriculture Committee, Isiyaka Jibrin Gital advised women farmers in the state to ensure that they liaise with stakeholders in the agricultural sector of the state, particularly the ministry of budget and economic planning so that their issues can be captured in the budget before it is passed into law.