By Victor Uzoho
To tackle climate change and mitigate its effect on food production, the Federal Government, on Monday, flagged off the training of over 150 women farmers in the South-East geopolitical zone.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, flagged off the initiative at the 4th edition of the South-East regional workshop on, “Gender Mainstreaming, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Women Farmers,” in Owerri, Imo State.
Abubakar, represented by the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Imo State, Chris Iwuchukwu, said the training follows the policy thrust of the 2019 National Gender Policy, hinged on gender equity and equality for optimum productivity in the agricultural sector.
He said: “Nigeria’s agriculture is most vulnerable and susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Indeed, it is rain-fed dependent.
“Any change in the weather pattern, in terms of the amount, intensity, duration, and the on-set, duration affect farmers’ decisions on when, what, and where of the crops and inputs as well as other cultural operations in the value chain.
“Climate change and variability affect particularly women who constitute the most vulnerable among the farming communities. Available statistics indicate that women constitute about 80% of the labour force involved in agricultural production, growing up to 80% of the food in Nigeria.
“Overall, they constitute about 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. Yet, women, farmers face various challenges and needs, especially climate change and variability, access to information and technologies.
“This ultimately would ensure commitment to gender mainstreaming at all levels of the agricultural sector, which is seen as a tool for achieving gender-based reforms and increasing productivity by men and women along all the value chains in the sector.
“The workshop is targeted, innovative and timely when viewed from the outcomes of the recent 2021 COP 26 climate change conference held in Glasgow, United Kingdom.”
The National Gender Policy focuses on addressing the disparity in the sector, building skills and competencies of the Nigerian women farmers in line with the SDG 13, which specifically addresses climate change and its impacts.
Speaking, the Imo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Okorochukwu Barthy, said the sole purpose of the workshop was to ensure an increase in food sufficiency, which will, in turn, translate to food security and economic growth in NIgeria.
“We must get more women farmers that will produce more food. Climate change portends the need for mitigation and adaptation to ensure more farming seasons in a given year,” Barthy said.
On her part, the Director, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Fausat Lawal, said the thrust of the National Gender Policy is to reduce the vulnerability of women in agriculture, especially in their access to farm inputs, feeds, finance and information so that they can contribute meaningfully to agriculture.
Represented by the Head, Gender Unit in the Ministry, Ifeoma Anyanwu, she noted that the policy focuses on addressing the disparity in the sector, building skills and competencies of the Nigerian women farmers in line with the SDG 13, which specifically addresses climate change and its impacts.
Meanwhile, the women farmers from Imo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and the Anambra states, received clean stoves and starter packs at the workshop.