By Fatima Muraina
Ondo state chapter of Smallholder Women Farmers (SWOFON) has presented a national gender policy on Agriculture to the Ondo state government and the State House of Assembly.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Press Officer to the Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Bisi Lawani which was made available to The Hope.
The policy according to the statements aimed towards promotion and ensuring the adoption of gender sensitiveness and responsive approaches from full implementation and execution of agricultural plans and programmes in a way that women and men can have equal access and control to agricultural resources and funding.
The gender policy on Agriculture which was sponsored by Actionaid, is supporting agriculture to commercial level among women and to particularly raise the standard of women in totality.
Making the presentation, the director, women wing of Justice Development and Peace commission (JPDC), Mr Kingsley Okorie, noted that women outnumbered men in agricultural sector but were dominated by the men in terms of access to fund, land and inputs.
He explained that the implication of this is that agriculture will not be able to function to its full capacity as a result of marginalisation of women.
The National Gender policy, he said, was formulated to bridge the gap of disparity and to ensure equity and equality in accessing distribution of agricultural assets.
While speaking on the details of the document, the women leader of small holders women farmers ( SWOFON), Mrs Bukola Oyediji said the policy has some specific objectives put in place in bridging gaps already existing in the agricultural sector.
Mrs Oyediji said the gender policy has nine specific objectives which she said are developing competence of staff and partners, institutionalizing gender responsive budget, promotion of the use of gender sensitive data and collection of gender status.
It also entails widening and managing partnership and shared mechanism, improving cultural practices that hinder women, training of women farmers cooperatives, train and provide Smallholder women with linkages, monitoring and evaluation.
She however implored the state government to mainstream the National Gender policy to foster equality in agricultural sector in terms of fund, land and inputs.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Sunday Akintomide appreciated the group for genuinely championing the cause of women in the society to ensure equitable distribution of wealth among the people.
He explained that the Ministry of Agriculture has mainstreamed gender in most of its activities and programs especially in Livestock processing and resilient support (LPRES) program of the federal government as he disclosed that the world bank has assured the projection of the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) both of which have women as the main targets.
While promising women of better days ahead, Akintomide said women would be included in all the programmes of the ministry to ensure full implementation of the policy.