SWOFON is the umbrella body for small scale women farmers in Nigeria with members in all the local government areas of the country. As the umbrella body, SWOFON Kogi state branch in meeting held yesterday under the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) program of ActionAid Nigeria through her implementing partner Participation Initiative For Behavioral Change In Development (PIBCID) lamented that over the years the budgetary allocation for women in agriculture have often not been released to the women in agriculture.
The chairperson of SWOFON in Kogi state in person of Hajiya Sefiya Y Yahaya in a statement during the meeting suggested that for this farming year SWOfON in the state would engage government through advocacy visits to ensure that the budget item for women in agriculture is released to the women farmers in the state. As a follow up to that the members of the meeting also suggested that the advocacy should also include the release of tractors to the women to enable the women farmers produce in commercial quantity to tackle the problem of food security in the Kogi state and Nigeria at large.
The PFA program of ActionAid and PIBCID has among its objectives the urgent need to strengthen the capacity of farmer federations and women’s organizations, enabling them to directly with government agencies and institutions for effective and efficient agriculture budget allocations and utilization that favours smallholders women farmers. One of the major challenges women in agriculture are faced with is the issue of inadequate finance. Research have revealed that smallholder farmers dominate the agriculture sector and produce 90% of the output, yet have difficulties accessing credit.
Women make up approximately 80% of smallholders farmers in Nigeria. Despite the huge percentage of women in agriculture and the huge budgetary allocation that has gone into agriculture between 2012–2016 less than 29.77% women in agriculture have benefitted from it. PFA has discovered that most women finance their practice through own fund, friends/relatives, traditional contribution, local money lender, cooperative, others, microfinance, agro-credit institution, social capital and commercial bank. PFA advocates that government involve more finance in the agriculture and ensure the actual release of the entire budget allocation to women in agriculture.