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Women Lead Agriculture in Nigeria Project

The overall goal of the Women Lead in Agriculture project is the strengthening of existing and emerging women mobilization platforms and small holder women farmers associations for sustainable organizing for change and policy influencing in the Agricultural sector.

Small holder women farmers constitute a large percentage of agriculture labour force but they lack access to agricultural input and finance. Their rights to the lands on which they farm is very minimal. Issues that affect small holder women farmer are not prioritized in policy formulations and they are represented or even given the opportunity to participate in decision making pertaining the agricultural sector.

This model project “Women Lead Agriculture in Nigeria” employs interwoven strategies such as Capacity building, Policy engagement and public awareness to facilitate gender accountability, transparency, good governance and change in the Agricultural sector for development result.

The specific goal of the project therefore is “Increased women mobilization platforms and small holder women farmers association for sustainable organizing for change and policy influencing in the Agriculture sector.”

The project is also aimed at strengthening the capacity of Small holder women farmers group to engage policy makers to demand for gender accountability in the agriculture sector, improve the skills of small holder women farmers to organize and engage policy makers for gender mainstreaming in the Agriculture sector and increase public awareness on the role and contribution of women to the agriculture sector and the gender implications of agricultural policies and programmes.

The project is being implemented in Benue, Enugu, Kwara and Osun States with the lead organization being Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and implemented by Women’s Right to Education Programme (WREP) in Benue State.

In carrying out activities in Benue state, the association paid advocacy visits to the coordinator of Women in Agriculture (WIN) at the State Ministry of Agriculture. The team has been able to identify the various Women in Agriculture groups in the three agricultural zones in the state comprising of zones A, B and C, and mapped out three LGAs from the three Zones (Gboko, Ukum and Oturkpo). These groups have been meeting, having their capacities built; and in strategizing the team visited piggery and poultry farms, in Gboko, and irrigation farm at tse-kucha to understand the challenges and opportunities. The small holder Women Farmers were trained on how to mobilize for transformative change and on the need to be organized as a team and demand for a change.

In order to change the narratives and set an agenda for improved commitment of Agricultural stakeholders in enhancing the life chances and livelihood of small holder women farmers in Nigeria towards the attainment of the newly launched sustainable development goals (SDG) , Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) and her cluster members at the state level with the support from USAID Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) project  in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development organized a one day meeting on the 17th of November 2015 in Abuja for smallholder women farmers, and the theme of the meeting was “Tackling Poverty in Nigeria Through Effective Engagement of Female smallholder farmers”. The essence of the meeting /discussion was to create an avenue were the women farmers had the opportunity to channel their challenges directly to the agricultural stakeholders, as the meeting proceeded the women farmers were sensitize on the best practices that will empower smallholder farmers in the quest for the attainment of the newly launched SDGs and also serve as a step up of a regular gender accountability forum on Agricultural policies and programmes in Nigeria.

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