A partnership between Alluvial Agriculture and Mastercard Foundation is training 50 women to become competent tractor operators, in an industry where such participation by women is rare.
One of such women is 27-year-old Patience Dang, from Plateau State, who is quoted in a statement to have turned to farming to raise money to fend for herself planting crops such as corn potatoes and maize on her 1.5-hectare field. Like most female smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Patience says she has been sidelined from opportunities that can help her scale up her farming business.
“Gender inequality affects women in all aspects including agriculture. Women continue to be at the shorter end of the stick with regard to finance, information and mechanization,” said Von Kemedi MD and CO-founder of Alluvial Agriculture. “This program is the right step we need to challenge this.”
The partnership, which also includes the participation of Tata International, according to a statement, is providing access for women to gain knowledge, mechanization and funding to scale up their agricultural businesses. Alluvial Agriculture, a farming collective makes it easy for smallholder farmers across Africa to gain knowledge and market access has trained 50 women in tractor operations training in 15 states in Nigeria to become tractor-owner operators. The first batch of 23 women were successfully trained in July 2021. The second batch of trainees saw 27 women of which Patience is a beneficiary.
This program is a joint venture with Indian Conglomerate Tata International and Alluvial. At the end of the two-week training course, the women form partnerships or cooperative of which each will be provided with John Deere tractors. 5,000 hectares will be worked on by female-led farmers as part of Alluvial’s community block farming projects. The loan will be repaid through a percentage of the fees earned by the women within three years. Each female-led business is expected to own between 2o to 50 tractors by 2028.
“Through this training, I hope to increase my own farmland and go into it full time and work for myself,” said Rukayat Gbadegesin, an agriculturist who works at a commercial farm in Kogi state. “I wish to one day own a larger farm to produce more crops. I have a big passion for agriculture and I want to grow as much as possible.”
Patience and Rukayat are two of the 50 women who will benefit from this program.
“I am excited to see what my future in farming will be after this training. I did not think I would have the opportunity to be a tractor operator but now it is possible thanks to this program. I feel empowered,” says Patience.