Agriculture may seem like a male-dominated industry from the outside, but it is women who practice agriculture more, especially rural women and by a wide margin. Nigerian women make up about 70% of the country’s agricultural workforce and also contribute to 70% of the country’s food production.
The contribution of women to the agricultural sector in Nigeria is largely under-recognized. According to a study carried out in 2014, some of the reasons for non-recognition are:
a. Male-dominated cultures, which place women in inferior positions;
b. Custom, taboos and sex-based division of labour, which keeps women subordinate to men;
c. The failure of economists to place value on unpaid women’s domestic production;
d. Uncertainty of women’s ability to articulate their problems and needs effectively;
e. The problem of the land tenure system and the inability of women to meet basic collateral security as bank requirements for loans intended for agricultural production.
Here’s Why Women’s Role in Agriculture Deserves Better Recognition
Contribution to the Economy
By being responsible for about 70% of the country’s food and agricultural produce, women’s contribution to the economy is crucial. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the agricultural sector accounts for 23.78% of the country’s GDP, which would not be possible without the input of women in the sector.
women In Agriculture – Reduction of Poverty in the Society
When women are empowered, the level of poverty in the society is reduced, this is because women invest about 90% of their income from their agricultural earnings in the family, while men only invest about 35% of their earnings.
Agricultural and educational empowerment programmes focused on rural women will significantly improve the lives of women economically and also the well-being of individuals, families and the rural communities.
Women are Involved in the Agriculture Value Chain
Women are actively involved in every part of the agricultural value chain in Nigeria, from the distribution of farm produce after they are harvested, to the transportation of the farm produce, processing of the agricultural produce in the informal and small-scale level and in the sales of the final product at the retail market where it gets to the final consumer.
Increased Agricultural Productivity
A study carried out on the involvement of women in agriculture in Nigeria showed that to attain increased agricultural productivity the full participation of women is required, which can be achieved by recognizing women as the subjects of development.
Research has also shown that women possess more knowledge of traditional water adaptation processes that can enhance crop yield and reduce the effect of adverse conditions that may affect agricultural activities such as flooding.
In 2020 alone, Babban Gona provided support for 27,373 female smallholder farmers by providing training, financial credit, farm input and harvest & marketing support.