Ahead of the International Day of Rural Women, the Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with partners on Thursday, charged policymakers, stakeholders to factor the rural woman for her role in boosting national food production which has contributed to national economic development.
Addressing newsmen during a joint ministerial press briefing for the United Nations International Rural Women and World Food Day, Dame Pauline Tallen, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, OluFunso Adebiyi, disclosed that lack of coordination between the various partners was responsible for less impactful women empowerment efforts in the country while calling for a more strategic approach for effective synergy and tapping into the expertise of resourceful partners.
The United Nations Women Country Representative, Ms Comfort Lamptey, pointed out that the United Nations Women was committed to “supports member states as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girl, in rural Nigerian communities.
Lamptey said the role of the Nigerian woman in food production can not be ignored, therefore policy aimed at improving her role remained critical to scale up the efforts and benefits derivable by the nation from her rural agricultural activities
“The critical role and contribution of rural women farmers in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty cannot be over emphasized.
“However, UN Women believes that although women farmers in Nigeria work very hard, many remain poor due to multiple barriers, including lack of access to land. This remains one of the barriers which needs to be removed to ensure effective and efficient production of food crops.
“Rural women and girls play essential roles in food systems from production, to processing, preparation, consumption, and distribution of food as well as in securing household and community nutrition.
“Yet, unequal power relations between women and men in the household and society, discriminatory gender norms and practices, prevalent violence against women and girls, results in unequal access to food and heightened experience of hunger, malnutrition, undernutrition, and food insecurity, Lamprey noted.
However, Dame Pauline Tallen also noted that genuine women empowerment scheme, fully coordinated by the ministry would improve the level of areas covered for women empowerment.
The minister explained that while the ministry was aware of the various cultural barriers, on women’s access to land, it cannot deny the fact that such cultural practices suffered gradual death owing to the respective laws of each state on land allocation.
“It is high time we have come together, to holistically channel all these individual and isolated efforts into a big whole for impact”. she said.