By Adelola Amihere
Irked by the exploitation of middle men used in the Anchor borrowers scheme and difficulty in accessing agric funds, Small scale women farmers under action aid have called for the direct dealings with regards to government programmes as well as the right to own lands.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Agricultural show and World Food Food Day celebration organised by National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria NAFN in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and All Farmers Association of Nigeria in keffi, Safiya Yahaya who spoke on behalf of other women farmers under SWOFON lamented that the use of middle men especially under the anchor borrowers scheme was sheer exploitation and an impediment to the women fully enjoying the benefits of government support
She said: ” Small scale women farmers are the ones providing 80percent of food consumed in Nigeria today and when government say they want to give us support, they pass through the middle men.
“For example, when you go to some States , they will sell the bag to us for N40,000 , when you go to the open market it may be about N30,000.Today, fertiliser is N5,500 but Anchor borrowers, they are giving us same fertiliser for between N7000 and N7500.
“That is the support given to small holder women farmers by employing those middle men to come and dupe us because if they need extension agents, they should come to us , we have women that can be extension agents to the government and it will get to us direct. We need government r to come to the real farmers”.
Speaking further, she opined that ownership of lands by women farmers who produce the bulk of food consumed in the country will make access to credit easy for them
“In the area of credit facility, when government gives money and we go to to access this funds, they will ask us for lands. Which we know that women don’t land because of our culture and tradition. Women do not own lands . but we are fighting for zero hunger and you don’t give use ownership to Land but only lease land to us for some years to farm.
” You know that when you start farming on a land , the yield is not much ,but continuous farming increases the yield . Government should help us own lands as women if they need zero hunger by 2030,” she said.
Earlier, the food and Agriculture program Coordinator of Action Aid, Azubike Nwokoye while emphasising the vital role Action Aid plays in supporting small scale women farmers urged government to create an enabling environment for these women farmers who produce the bulk of food if its target of achieving zero hunger by 2030/is to be met.
“They need to be included in agricultural budget and policy making processes, ensure they have access to extension services, ensure increase public financing of Agriculture by increasing it in terms of the quantity and quality in terms of investment in the agric sector.
“They need to ensure that labour saving technologies are available for them, create specific budget lines to support them, make sure that access to easy and cheap credit is available to women farmers and make sure that all the researchers that are available get to small holder farmers,” he stated.