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Regional News of Sunday, 12 September 2021

Source: punchng.com

Unfriendly govt policies frustrating us – Female farmers

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

Female farmers in the country, under the aegis of Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria, have lamented what they called their diminishing fortune, which they blame on unfriendly government policies and ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national president of the association, Mary Afan, said the country risked food shortage by the continued neglect of female farmers, who he said are the largest contributors to the industry.

Afan spoke at a webinar on Africa Green Revolution Forum Session on a New Consensus for Smallholder Farmers, organised by Actionaid Nigeria, which was monitored by our correspondent.

She said, “From the small-scale women farmers, our condition is not getting better. Coming from the impact of COVID-19 of last year, as it is now, we need to start all over. We have lost all of our investments; we need support to be able to produce more food, to take care of households and definitely to speed up the improvement of the agricultural structure to be able to recover all that we have lost.

“Like in my country, there was a review on the budget for agriculture because of the issue of COVID-19. We begged government not to cut the agriculture budget because that is the only sector that can support us out of the impact of this COVID-19.

“Based on that, we were not able to access support from government just as when government was sharing food to people during the lockdown, we expected to have access to input to be able to produce more food this year. As it is now, we are starting from zero level again to be able to go back to our farms and produce.”

Also speaking, Sarah Yapwa of Hope Foundation for the Lonely in Gombe State, lamented destruction of farms by herders and their cattle.

She said, “These security challenges we have, there is a pattern that used to be followed. However, farmers know when to farm and herders know when to also go and feed their cattle after harvest but the good relationship is lacking now. I’m calling on government to ensure they intervene, the vigilantes within the communities should also protect these women when they go to the farm because women are being attacked and at times raped and their crops eaten.”