By Felicia Imohimi
The group made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a roundtable in commemoration of 2022 International Women’s Day with the theme: “Gender Equality and Breaking the Bias in Agriculture Sector”.
The roundtable was organised by the Federal Government/International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP).
The group specifically called for declaration of state of emergency regarding women access to farmland, credit among others.
Mr Musa Dalang, IFAD-VCDP Rural Institutions, Gender and Youth Mobilisation Adviser said there was need to make deliberate efforts to empower women in all aspects of life.
Dalang frowned at the denial of women access and ownership of land in parts of the country, describing such as inimical to agricultural transformation agenda of the government and national development.
He said that an empowered woman had great multiplier effect on the family, community and the larger society.
“We want women to have access to resources like land where they can produce, have access to credit from financial institutions and effectively utilise their businesses.
“We want a situation where the woman can be involved in household decision making. The husband can involve her in the decision of the household, specifically how to manage the household budget.
“They should as well be involved in how to utilise proceeds from their endeavours, particularly when produce from the farms are sold by the husband they should be able to sit together and discuss how to utilise it.
“We also encourage women to participate in leadership issue, take leadership position in their organisations because where the woman lead you discovered that there is accountability, transparency and good result,” he said.
Mrs Nkiruka Okonkwo, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative identified agricultural sector as one of the sectors with numerous issues of gender-based violence, especially on women and girls.
Okonkwo, the keynote speaker reaffirmed that women had limited access to land and “even where they do the issue of control and ownership is something that we are yet to deliver for the women”.
“Since we now have the National Gender Policy 2021 to 2026, also the National Gender Policy in Agriculture, it is very important for us to begin to look at ways we can empower women and girls within the agriculture sector.
“We should promote women empowerment and youth employment within the sector.’’
She listed some of the gender biases in agriculture as women not being able to own land, sexual-based violence among others.
Okonkwo, however, called on government and the traditional faith institutions to address gender biases in agriculture and other sectors of the economy.
“When the woman is not able to own land it limits what she can do and of course it affects her productivity and the yield.
“We have also seen cases of sexual and gender-based violence where women and girls are raped on the farm and sexually molested.
“The issue of poverty, in the event of seeking for means of survival, their rights are being violated,” she said.
Okonkwo said the commemoration was a call for action for all and sundry to reflect on decision taken so far towards addressing the trend or menace.
According to her, the day is also to reflect on policies in place and ascertain whether they are really gender biases, especially against women and girls or they are gender sensitive.
“Where there is gender bias, we need to reflect on what we need to do and those that are gender sensitive, we promote them ultimately.
“If we are able to deliver gender policy within the agriculture sector, the transformation that the Nigerian government aspires to see within the sector will really be achieved.’’
Also, Mr Garba Bala, the National Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, who congratulated women for the international women day celebration, however, urged them to be more dedicated, committed wherever they find themselves beyond their household.
Bala advised them to ensure implementation of any gender base bill pass into law. (NAN)