Impact of Smallholder Women Farmers in Nigerian Agriculture

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The development in Agriculture and the future of the sector lies in the midst of two human gender – man and woman. The process of providing food in the universe won’t be a reality if not because of the helper called woman.

Women are virtually participating in every aspect of Agriculture irrespective of the angle one looks at it. In most rural areas in Nigeria, women are more into farming despite their family responsibilities. They are consistently helping to provide the home with food and support in all farm entities. The smallholder farmers hold the production of 98 percent of the food consumed in Nigeria – women farmers occupied 50 – 60 percent.

In Nigeria, smallholder women farmers play a crucial role in all aspects of agriculture. They’re actively involved in the process of producing food from farms and serving it on the table at home. They also participate in weeding, planting, rearing livestock, harvesting, marketing, and processing of farm produce.

Though agriculture is the widest pride of Nigeria and her economy, even with the hurdles facing the sector the women are not moved but tripling up for the sector especially those living in the rural and semi-urban communities. Their commitment to agriculture is impressive even while trying to fend for themselves they are actively involved to ensure there is food availability.

Based on popular saying among them living in rural communities –we women no dey trier for farm’, the saying is one of the motivational words which show their passion for a well-running agriculture system.

Some of the impacts of smallholder women farmers in agriculture include:

  • Smallholder women farmers play a crucial role during planting season, nursing, and keeping seed banks.
  • They are catalysts in food processing, production, and distribution in the community and to the cities.
  • They are marginalized in the area of access to financial support and special palliative but they are key in bridging the gap in the production of veggies and garden crops.
  • They outnumber men during post-harvest and collection of farm produce.
  • Mostly women in the rural community are very committed to managing their own small farmland – either bought or inherited through their husbands.
  • Smallholder women farmers are the backbone in the development of farm production especially in rural areas to men.
  • In most rural communities despite the limited information available to them the women farmers are more coordinated in clusters and well organized in carrying out their farm business.
  • They increase the financial value of farm production and indirectly affect the national GDP through agriculture.

Despite all their efforts and the commitment to the development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria by government, private, and some international bodies, the result has not been as expected. Majority of the problems differently faced by the smallholder farmers especially women in Nigeria include; economic, embezzlement of funds, gender inequality, political, and financial constraints.

For Nigeria to record more improvement in her agriculture, government at all level must see to the solution of smallholder women farmers’ problems; there should be policies that favored women farmers and their inclusion in accessing financial aid and small grants, access to information and education in new farming practice, access to land and farm inputs, transparency among the stakeholders in the Agriculture sector.

Smallholder women farmers are contributors to the Nigerian agricultural sector and their role in ensuring alleviation of hunger and food availability calls for government and the non-governmental organizations intensive support in order to motivate their commitment in agriculture production towards the agro-allied companies and contribution to addressing food insecurity.

Godwin Adinoyi Jimoh
Communication Officer, Barns Connect.

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