Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Women Farmers have called on the state government to approve and disburse the N30 million budgetary allocations for women in agriculture in the 2015 budget. The women farmers under the auspices of the Small Scale Women Farmers Association of Nigeria (SWOFAN) made the call while on an advocacy visit to the State Commissioner of Agriculture Dr Zacchaeus Atteh yesterday in Lokoja.
Led by Mrs. Ketim Ocheja, the State Coordinator of the association, an umbrella body comprising various registered women farmers groups from the 21 local governments of the state disclosed that women who are made up of about 66.6 per cent of the workforce in agriculture production are very much interested to embark on active agricultural activities as a way of complementing government’s efforts to ensure food security in the state.
Ocheja said the budgetary allocation to women in 2014 was not accessed “and so, we are appealing to our governor through the Commissioner for Agriculture to hasten the approval and disbursement of N30 million allocations to women in agriculture in the 2015 budget.”
She noted that the timely disbursement of the fund would enable the women farmers take advantage of the present cropping season especially against the backdrop of predictions of latter rains and early cessation of the rainy season. She hinted that the state chapter of SWOFAN in collaboration with the Green Earth Implementation Development Initiative (GEIDI) had drawn a proposal titled Kogi Women Farmers Empowerment Project (KWOFEP) to assist small holder farmers.
“This has the overall objective of improving the living standard of small holder farmers, agribusinesses, youths and women groups, thus promoting peace and stability in the state. “The proposal if implemented will give rise to increased employment and income generation, wealth creation, sustainable livelihoods, economic prosperity and poverty alleviation in the state”, she said.