A female farmer and the General Secretary, of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos State chapter, Abimbola Fagoyinbo- Francis has called on the federal and the state government as a matter of urgency to assist farmers, especially the females among them, with grants to aid them in ensuring better harvests.
She made the call in a chat with our correspondent, stressing that women farmers need government’s assistance and intervention in the area of funds, grants and other initiative that would make farming easy and interesting.
Fagoyinbo- Francis said that this is the period farmers really need government help in order to increase food production and be self-sufficient in food production.
She decried the high cost of food stuff in the market amidst COVID-19, stating that farmers must be empowered to do more as this is the right time for government to provide grants to women in agriculture to boost their production.
Fagoyinbo- Francis further stated that both the State and Federal Governments should create such window of opportunities to encourage women in agriculture to thrive.
She said the role of women in agriculture was very crucial, adding that women play a very active role, especially in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), adding that women are the driver behind SMEs, because they start from the scratch and they endure all weather.
“We are asking for government’s intervention, though government is trying now because they are trying to recognise the role of women in agriculture. But without the government coming in to intervene in the area of funding and in assisting women, women cannot succeed in agriculture,” she added.
Speaking further, she urged government to change some policies where women were being regarded as second class people and favour men than women, as she said that policies should give equal opportunity to women in agriculture and should not sideline them in the critical areas of the economy.
“We want government to give priority attention to gender equality in agriculture quickly. Women struggle hard alone to source for land, loan, tools and equipment and many of them are widows,” she said.
Fagoyinbo-Francis however, commended the efforts of government in refocusing the interest rate to reduce the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on farmers.