Nigeria Country Director, African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr Ousmane Dore has explained that Nigerian women are the cornerstone of the nation’s agricultural sector adding that they contributed close to 70 per cent of agricultural workforce yet got less of accruing returns.
Dore said this at the launching of African women in agriculture report titled: “Economic empowerment of African women through equitable participation in agricultural value chains’’ recently in Abuja.
He said that the report aimed at contributing to the economic empowerment of African women in agriculture, through identification and proffering of possible solutions to hindrances to women’s active participation in agricultural value chains.
“In spite of their (women) huge labour investment, productivity is low and they often have limited roles in decision making on the farms.
“Lack of ownership of land and other productive assets due to existing social norms has created a significant negative impact on the family income and the nation’s GDP at large,’’ Dore said.
He said that the bank recognised crucial role of women in economic growth and sustainability in Africa.
Dore said that the bank’s 10 years strategies, 2012-2022 had placed high emphasis on gender equality and mainstreaming as prerequisites for African economic transformation.
He said that the report had examined how AfDB and partners could sustainably and proactively support African women by developing unique tailor-made projects for women-led and women-dominated businesses in agriculture.
Dore said that the entities included support for trade, investment and integration of African women in agriculture value chains.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sunny Echono, said women are the cornerstone of agricultural production, processing, marketing and utilisation in the country.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the ministry’s Deputy Director, Extension, Mr Dele Onorunfemi explained that Nigeria’s agriculture could never achieve any meaningful development without mainstreaming concern into the nation’s policy and programme.
“Women supply 70 per cent of agricultural labour; 50 per cent of animal husbandry related activities and 60 per cent of food processing, yet they have access to only 20 per cent of available agricultural resources
“Despite these challenges, women are the cornerstone of agricultural production, processing, marketing and utilisation.
“women play vital roles in the maintenance of our families, investing as much as 90 per cent of their income in the families compared to 35 per cent for men,’’ Echono said

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