Another Warning On Food Crisis in Nigeria
Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON), a coalition of Women Farmers Associations recently, lamented their ugly experiences resulting from encounters with herdsmen, recounting losses of members, farm produce and revenues among other things.
The women farmers narrated their experiences at a press briefing organised in collaboration with Actionaid Nigeria under the Women Voice and Leadership Nigeria (WVL-N) Project, sponsored by the Global Affairs Canada, with strategic stakeholders’ to get their commitments on support for smallHolder women farmers as regards security.
Some of the women who spoke at the conference, stated though, Nigerian agricultural labour force is dominated by women farmers, constituting over 70 percent of the entire agricultural labor force and are involved in almost every aspect of the agricultural value chain, but in recent times, Smallholder women farmers have experienced series of shocks that require urgent corrective intervention from governments at national level and the security agencies.
“These shocks include but are not limited to increased insecurity on the farms amongst others, (women farmers are victims of rape and killings on their farms by bandits/killer-herdsmen across the country).
“The socio-economic effects of this insecurity have led to reduction in crop yield and income of farmers/nomads’ displacement of farmers, loss of lives and properties and loss of products in the storage.
“This issues if not properly addressed could lead to food insecurity as women farmers are afraid of going to their farms for fear of losing their lives” stated Comfort Sunday, the SWOFON Coordinator in FCT.
Also speaking during the event, Nnanna Mercy, SWOFON’s Secretary in Kuje Area Council, recalled how she lost five hecters of cassava farm to herdsmen attack.
According to her, the attackers literally uprooted the cassavas and fed the animals, noting that it was a huge blow on her, as she only discovered the attack the day she took ready buyers to the farm to sell the produce.
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The women noted that there is an urgent need for a townhall meetingband engagement with security agencies and community stakeholders on the prevailing security situation as it affects smallholder women farmers farming activities.
They also emphasised the need for the government and security agencies to addresses lingering security issues and find a lasting solution to this menace.
Other key recommendations according to the group, is the need for the police to build Trust and Improve on Police-Community Relations, the need to create and support local vigilante/policing groups, as well as the need for government to as a matter of urgency to promote and train farmers on the importance of climate-smart agriculture and agriculture sustainability.
Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) is a coalition of Women Farmers Associations and Groups across Nigeria.
The network exists with the goal of advocating for and supporting women farmers especially those in rural areas to spur rural village economic development, increase food production through capacity building of smallholder women farmers to demand for their rights and privileges from the duty bearers while serving as vocal and visible pressure group on behalf small holder women farmers in Nigeria.