By Victoria Onehi
The President of the Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs (NAWE) Bar Vera Ndanusa, has said women make essential contributions to the agricultural sector hence should be supported with incentives by the Federal government.
Ndanusa was speaking when she led members of the National Executive of NAWE on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.
She said the activities of women in Agricbusiness include producing agricultural crops, processing of crops,tending animals hence government should provide them with incentives and interventions to carry out their businesses.
” Many of our members now export their products which are majorly agricultural products to the international market thus contributing to the increase in foreign trade and national GDP. But this is not without limitations.
“There is therefore a need to collaborate with the Ministry for a robust agricultural development among the members of the Association.It will also enable them establish linkages and synergies that can take farming to the next business level through mechanisation and agricultural industrial development.”She said.
Ndanusa noted that NAWE has moved from subsistent economy to mainstream economy hence the Ministry should help in the training and retraining of the women in agriculture in various value chain.
” We seek the empowerment of women farmers with seedlings,farm inputs and tractors during the farming season.”Also,we request for rice milling machines at least in the six Geo-political zones of the country for our women in rice processing.” She said.
In his response,the Minister.said 70 percent of the food production in Nigeria is by smallholder farmers of whom women are the majority thus it’ is time to give to Caesar what is Caesars.
” All that you have asked, consider that I have granted. We will collaborate with NAWE through the Department of Agricbusiness and Marketing Development, Extension Services and the Co-operative Department so that the women can be in clusters.
” We do give out equipments,we do give out seedlings and fertilizer.Some of them as grants and some of them subsiized as much as I70 percent off the actual price.You should be able to get those in the next coming distribution.I can assure you of my support for your organszation.”the Minister said.
Corroborating what the Minister said , the Director Agribusiness and Market Development, Engineer A. M Adebiyi said some of the things requested by NAWE, the ministry has them and will leverage on the Ministers approval to provide them.