Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, has said federal government would take advantage of gender diversity in the country and mainstream same into the agriculture sector.
She said women make up about 50 percent of Nigeria’s population as well as provide about 60 percent to 70 percent of the country’s labour force in the rural areas and as such contribute about 70 percent of the work force in the Agricultural sector.
These she disclosed, makes mainstreaming gender into the agric sector imperative.
Hajia Alhassan stated these when she paid a courtesy visit to Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi, to intimate him of her mission to implement laws and policies that would encourage the welfare and well-being of women, children, persons with disabilities (PWDs), the elderly, and other vulnerable groups especially in Kano State.
According to the minister, who was ably represented by her Senior Assistant, Engr. Abubakar Umar, mainstreaming gender into agric sector informed the focus of her advocacy on women in agribusiness and Agro Allied Products in Kano State.
“Kano State has been a commercial and agricultural state known for the production of groundnut pyramids in the 70’s and most indigenes of Kano depend on agriculture for their livelihood, such that Kano State is the most involved in irrigation in the country”, the minister said.
She explained that agribusiness simply refers to the breadth of business engaged in all aspect of agriculture, from the fertilizer, to farming, processing, marketing, distribution, and retail sales. It emphasizes the notion that, for agriculture to be sustainable, it needs to be viewed as a business.
“However, successive governments have made various efforts to improve agribusiness in Nigeria, hence it has been argued severally by economists and speakers in various fora that the promotion of agribusiness is a prerequisite for overall economic growth and the alleviation”, she reiterated.
The minister informed that her ministry would seek the support of the Kano Emir in the areas of sensitization and mobilization of grassroots women on the importance and the need to engage in agribusiness; to intervene in advocating for gender sensitive policies/programme of the government; to help solicit for increased government agribusiness funding; and to solicit for his support for land ownership by women; amongst others.
Responding, Alhaji Sanusi said the fact that women and children are important to the state and the nation as a whole, makes them a priority to the emirate noting that “the council created a section within that is in charge of their affairs”.
The emir, who was represented by Wali Kano, Alhaji Mahe Bashiru Wali, said women play a very good role in the society; thus the need for their status to be upgraded.
He promised that the Emirate council, with other stakeholders, will do their best to sensitize the grassroot women on the issue of agribusiness to ensure the purpose of the visit was achieved.
He further called on the Federal Government to establish a system that will educate the women, especially those in the rural areas.