WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND THE SUCCESS OF THE AGRO VALUE CHAIN IN NIGERIA – CHI TOLA ROBERTS

0

Many businesses may be unaware of the crucial role women play in supplying the ingredients they depend on for their products, as this contribution is often unrecognized, unpaid – invisible. Women are active at all stages of agricultural production, in many cases providing the majority of the labor, yet when it comes to moving produce to market and concluding the sale women face a glass ceiling. These tasks are almost entirely done by men, who subsequently retain much of the control over household income. Women play a key role in agriculture across the world and in Africa; FAO studies reveal that 70% of the work in agriculture is done by women (Doss and Sofa Team 2007).

Women empowerment is a multifaceted concept; there are many definitions and perceptions that are used by programs and projects advocating empowering women. With the situation of farming in Nigeria, it is recommended that more use of gender sensitive approaches in designing and implementing development programs on women empowerment should be critically considered in developing such programs. Men and tribal leaders should be involved in women empowerment initiatives in order to change their mindset towards women empowerment.

Some of the major considerations should be, first, gender is a parameter of quality. A more diverse management team performs better, which calls for a sensible human resource development policy. Secondly, educational institutes need to pay attention to the accessibility of education for women at different levels. More integration and consideration and provision should be made for women at all levels in the curriculum. Lastly, the content of the curriculum is very important. In addition, insights in the roles and responsibilities of men and women in agri-food chains must be emphasized and intimated.

Highlighting the important roles that women play in agricultural production, and hence in feeding the nation and the world at large, female farmers are often undercapitalized, produce under inefficient conditions, and are often invisible in agricultural value chains. For a while in Nigeria, gender has just been an add-on in agricultural extension and policies. Hence, the focus had been on focusing on fewer, but more capitalized farmers. Unfortunately, we are yet to cash in fully on the changing times driven by different factors, such as innovation, farmer entrepreneurship, and the rise of specialized markets. This as a result, will see more appreciation for farmers’ diversity, knowledge and innovation, farmer-led development, farmers’ organizations, and gender mainstreaming in agricultural value chains.

Female farmers form an opportunity and great potential for more diversified farming systems, value-added production and commitment to the environment, and they are mostly the drivers of sustainable agriculture and organic/certified production. Female famers become entrepreneurs in value-added production in different ways, from processing farm products, to organic and sustainable production, to direct selling, agri-tourism and on-farm education.  Nevertheless, there is a gender divide in scaling up, and female farmers often face several barriers for scaling-up their production and adding value in the agri-food chain. Scaling-up interventions are often geared towards men, and the majority of female farmers have limited access to land, financial resources and credit, knowledge and training, and certification processes.

In light of the above, networking is key for integrating women more optimally in agri-food chains. For all farmers, but for women particularly, it is essential to make connections between local and non-local actors in the community and the wider chain. Attention needs to go beyond production, and should also focus on mentoring capacity, and female membership, participation and leadership in (farmer/agricultural) organizations.

Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. It is widely recognized that women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home.

Women members of producer organizations, however, tend to be in a stronger position than their unorganized counterparts: they are more likely to own land and have better access to credit, training and services; they are more likely to undertake independent business activities and subsequently have more control over household expenditure; and they have better opportunities in terms of engaging in the business side of farming or taking on leadership roles. Networking is key to achieving the success set for gender equality and advancement of women in the agro value chain in Nigeria.

 

 

CHI TOLA ROBERTS

 

 

 

Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. It is widely recognized that women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home.

You can share this
Previous articleKANO STATE, THE PAST,THE PRESENT AND DE- INDUSTRIALIZATION
Next articleVacancy in an Asset Management Firm
We help you make sense of an increasingly complex information world with a wide range of perspectives and stories that will allow you take an informed decision. We are proud of our African heritage and keep our eyes on the world. As online media, we see digitalization as the foremost opportunity to reach new readers, customers, and African emerging markets. We are independent in our approach. Our philosophy is grounded in the principles of a free society, which Africa is coming to terms with yet not losing the essence of what makes us African, which is our culture. ….showcasing the best part of us! www.etimes.com.ng ======================== info@etimes.com.ng ======================== etimes.nigeria@gmail.com Phone: +234 802 893 1940
SHARE