The women involvement in agriculture cardinal for economic sustenance and growth is an intiative geared towards empowering women in Nigeria
Speaking in an interview with CKN News on this laudable initiative, the brain behind the project ,Chi Tola said that the Women in Agricultural Advancement & Sustainability Africa (WAASA) is an initiative dedicated to the empowerment of women and bridging economic gap by promoting women participation in agriculture and agro- business. Reiterating that over the years, women have established more defined roles in agriculture.
“In Nigeria, women are involved in agricultural production, processing and utilization. A woman’s role in the agricultural sector is significantly affected by socio-economic factors such as income, education and access to infrastructure. In order for agriculture to advance in Nigeria, gender specific policies and services tailored to women in the value chains should be developed”.
She said that WAASA strives to increase women’s access to and application of key agricultural knowledge and skills, thereby improving overall crop production, with the intention that this, in turn, will lead to greater income or food supply.
Speaking on how this initiative will go further is securing markets for produces considering the fact that most of these farm produce are wasted due to lack of transportation or even buyers after harvest, she made an interesting leap saying that after supporting production, WAASA will after harvest buy up whatever the women harvested and sell directly at control prices to either end users or manufacturing companies who may require these produce in large scales.
She also mentioned that on the official site of WAASA, there will be continuous information on what is available and where?
She also mentioned that WAASA intends to partner. We will do more partnerships both with government and the private sector on this aspect of the business. That will be the only way to sail the storm. I can’t tell you that we have warehouses across the country. No! I wish we do really, but it’s a gradual process and we will get there, but until then, we must use what we have available to achieve the best.
Speaking on what other aspect this initiative intends to cover, she said “WAASA will also provide small short term loans (we call it seasonal loans), trainings and technical support to women farmers. As time goes on, possibly by the end of this year, we would have finished setting up our online portal where you can actually make your farm fresh requests (for big buyers). We will also let visitors to the site know where they can get what (I.E, which region produces a particular crop, products, etc the most and if there are markets and when they trade). These amongst other things are what WAASA will be doing.
We are currently organising a Women in agricultural advancement conference in Abuja on the 30th of June. It is the inaugural event and we will have the official launching of WAASA Foundation. The theme is: Producing More. Conserving More. Improving Lives.
This conference is open to all women who ae passionate about Agriculture and would want to venture into it directly or indirectly.
In Conclusion: There should be a free access to education and training predominantly some training modules for women in packaging, grading and value addition activities. There is need to change the cultural taboos which discriminate women. If education and infrastructure facilities are improved in their area, then, it MEANS more women will work in the industry and ultimately economic independence could be achieved. We require agro products and services companies, banks, organizations to support this initiative and in fact, add a bit if not much of agro support to their CSR’s. We can’t live without food. Let’s support agriculture.