Inclusive Agricultural Cluster: 18 LG Chairmen must emulate Ondo govt —Women Farmers, LAPDO

By: Oluwatosin Adesola

In commemoration of the 2022 International Women’s Day Campaign, with the theme “Break the Bias,” Members of the Ondo state Chapter of the Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria and Life and Peace Development Organisation, LAPDO, have called Executive Chairmen of 18 local governments in Ondo state to emulate efforts of the state government in supporting female farmers with agricultural policies.

They also urged the council chairmen to ‘Inclusive Agricultural Cluster’ through which smallholder women farmers could be empowered at the local government area level.

Inclusive Agricultural Cluster is a programme being funded by the United States Agency International Development, (USAID), NIGERIA.

Addressing newsmen in Akure on Thursday, the Ondo State Coordinator of the Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria, Mrs Bukola Oyediji, flanked by representatives of some local government branches, said, “as an Inclusive Agricultural Cluster, our discovery over the years has been that the challenges facing women farmers in Ondo State LGAs are enormous including lack of finance, absence of farm equipment and as well agriculture input which are as a result of detached attitude of the government to the plight of women farmers and lack of financial support for them.

“Cattle menace and general insecurity have remained threats to the survival of women farmers in LGAs within Ondo State as we have cases whereby they sourced loans to farm only for cows to ravage the farms. Such is devastating and tragic. Worse still, there are no forms of compensation to such victims since they are not aware of the state policy which facilitates women-friendly environment and security.

“To redress the trend and break the barrier and the bias in line with this year’s IWD Campaign, we are calling on local government authority to, among other things, create awareness of policy environment in the agricultural sector that will support the needs of smallholder women farmers including those living with disabilities in the LGAs in Ondo State.

“It is also imperative for Ondo State local government authorities to enhance and empower smallholder women farmers in the 18 LGAs to add values to their produce.

“We also call on stakeholders at all levels to ensure inclusive participation of smallholder women farmers as business membership organisation for inclusion into the organized private sector,” Oyediji said.

Also speaking, the Executive Director of Life and Peace Development Organization, (LAPDO), Franklin Oloniju, said “Life and Peace Development Organisation/ Inclusive Agricultural Cluster deplore the lack of women-friendly environment in the agricultural sector in the 18 local government in Ondo State.

“On a final note, we would like to charge that the government should go all out to tame the monster of insecurity which is affecting lives and property of everybody including women farmers.

“Government should find lasting solution to the farmers-herders’ crises in the state with a view to ending destruction of farmlands by cattle and as well as consider payment of compensation to victims as a mean of support,” the LAPDO Boss said.

The Program manager of Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE), Mr Segun Ojo, stressed the need for local government chairmen in Ondo state to embrace LAPDO/Inclusive Agricultural Cluster to improve welfare of women farmers in the rural areas.

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