Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) has called for long term investment in small scale farming to boost food production and alleviate poverty.
Mrs Mary Afan, the President of SWOFON made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
“The investment will promote and support long-term sustainable agriculture practices that can assist people in rural areas to adapt to climate change and reduce scarcity of natural resources, such as water and forests.
“Significant climate events such as devastating droughts and floods are hitting small scale farmers more frequently, and there is an urgent need to help them cushion the effect.’’
Afan said that there was need to assist small scale farmers with soft loans to enable them meet the demands of the planting season.
This, she noted would boost food security as well as ensure revenue generation to the small scale farmers.
“Failure to restore food production now will lead to the worsening of widespread and severe hunger in the country.
“We want to be able to achieve more reliable, profitable and sustainable production, increase our flexibility and transform the livelihoods of our members.
“We also want to be able to promote rural food security, alleviate poverty and adapt to climate change.
“Women and small scale farmers have great potential to reduce poverty in the country and will need to increase productivity levels which are currently very low.’’
According to her, women in Nigeria constitute about 60 to 80 per cent of the agricultural labour force.
She however, expressed concern that their access and support to agricultural related services of credit, inputs, technology, training and advice were limited.
The SWOFON president said that the association would key into all government agriculture programmes with a view to reducing the poverty level of women farmers if presented with the opportunity.
To this end, she said the association would mobilise more women, build their capacity and engage them on the need for increased investment in the sector.
She said that the association would also create market linkages, value chain development and engage with other stakeholders to advocate for inclusion of its members in budget and planning processes. (NAN)