Gabriel Idibia, Kaduna
A female activist, Ramatu Tijjani, has called on African Union (AU), to enhance women’s access and ownership of livestock in Africa, so as to fight against extreme poverty and unemployment problems on the continent.
Comrade Tijjani, who made the call during an interview in Kaduna, said that “in many developing countries, women provide much of the labour for livestock tasks, yet their role in livestock production is undervalued and research on the issue widely ignored”.
According to her, women are often denied ownership rights for large stock, cattle, camels, horses, donkeys, but were allowed to keep small stock such as sheep, goat, rabbits, pigs and poultry and fish farming, in most African countries.
She said many factors are responsible for denying women right for large scale stock in Africa which she pointed out as ethnic and cultural and religious system and insecurity challenges, which clearly indicated that women have weaker ownership rights than men, especially in times of stress in most African countries
She also argued that the migration of men to find seasonal jobs, makes it more difficult for women in their households to use land, or access credit and technical inputs for livestock production due to increasing security challenges and environmental factors and climate change confronting African countries and the world at large.
“Women find it extremely difficult to be rearing big animals for income like cattle, camels, horses, donkeys, at home and in forestry like men, as a result of poverty and lack of support from the government and philanthropist”
Comrade Ramatu suggested ways to immensely enhance women’s access in livestock production in African, and to the rest of the developing countries, which include the use of more women as extension agents.
“Also there is the need for people designing new livestock technologies to consider the potential impact on women status and economic control of resources”, she said, adding that until women have stronger ownership right to large stock, development with small stock have the most potential.
“African government must also emulate their counterparts in europe assisting rural and urban women with loans and capital from agricultural banks or commercial banks so as to reduce the large number of unemployed women facing series of challenges in their various communities due to the gravity of poverty facing them”, she said
Comrade Ramatu also called on northern states governors to emulate Katsina state government which had given out goats and other little animals to rural women to engage them in livestock production.