Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON), Ondo State Chapter, has expressed worry over the continuous rise in the prices of premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, in the state, the situation, the farmers say, is having a huge toll on their source of living.
The farmers also called on Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the state governor, to find a lasting solution to the farmers-herders’ crises in the state with a view to ending destruction of farmlands by cattle and as well as consider payment of compensation to victims as a means of support.
Speaking on the theme, “Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow”, organized by Life and Peace Development Organisation”, the Ondo state coordinator, SWOFON, Grace Oyediji said, “the challenges facing women farmers in Ondo State LGAs are enormous including lack of finance, absence of farm equipment and as well agriculture input which are as a result of detached attitude of the government to the plight of women farmers and lack of financial support for them.”
Oyediji, while speaking against the backdrop of the 2022 International Women’s Day Campaign, with the theme “Break the Bias,” advocated the awareness of the policy environment in the state that support gender-responsiveness and as well focuses on empowering the needs of the smallholder women farmers in the 18 local government areas within Ondo State.
She said; “What has become the order of the day is that the enabling environment is not there for smallholder women farmers to survive. Since there are no tractors or equipment to work within the state, we have to travel out of the state to rent such. The same is applicable to chemicals and other agro-inputs needed to facilitate agricultural product”.
She specifically said cattle menace and general insecurity have remained threats to the survival of women farmers in LGAs within the state.
“We have cases whereby we sourced loans to farm only for cows to ravage the farms. Such is devastating and tragic. Worse still, there are no forms of compensation to such victims since they are not aware of the state policy which facilitates a women-friendly environment and security. We need gender friendly machines.
“To redress the trend and break the barrier and the bias in line with this year’s WD Campaign, we are calling on local government authority to, among other things, create awareness of policy environment in the agricultural sector that will support the needs of smallholder women farmers including those living with disabilities in the LGAs in Ondo State.
“It is also imperative for Ondo state local government authorities to enhance and empower smallholder women farmers in the 18 LGAs to add value to their produce. We want Agro Women initiative domicile across the 18 local government areas of the state and we want farmers in rural areas to benefit from it”.
The SWOFON coordinator also called on stakeholders at all levels to ensure inclusive participation of smallholder women farmers as business membership organisations for inclusion into the organized private sector.
“The government should go all out to tame the monster of insecurity which is affecting the lives and property of everybody including women farmers. Government should find a lasting solution to the farmers-herders’ crises in the state with a view to ending destruction of farmlands by cattle and as well as consider payment of compensation to victims as a means of support”.
While reacting, the Executive Director of Life and Peace Development Organisation/ Inclusive Agricultural Cluster, Franklin Olomiju, said his organization has discovered a lacuna and lack of women-friendly environment in the agricultural sector in the 18 local government areas in the state.