Women Farmers Advocate Inclusive Budget for Postharvest Losses in Nigeria
By Faridat Salifu
In an impassioned plea to address the pressing issue of postharvest losses and advocate for inclusive agricultural budgeting, women farmers and representatives from various influential organizations came together to make comprehensive recommendations at a media briefing organized by ActionAid Nigeria.
in collaboration with the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), ONE, and the CAADP Non-State Actors Coalition (CNC) on the 2024 Proposed Agriculture Budget in Abuja on Friday, December 15, 2023.
At the heart of the discussion was a focused analysis of the proposed 2024 agricultural sector budget, with the purpose of identifying avenues for potential growth, creation of employment opportunities, meeting domestic food demands, and promoting the export of high-quality processed agricultural commodities.
Key recommendations shared at the briefing underscored the critical need for targeted allocations in the budget to effectively address postharvest losses.
Specifically, the representatives underscored the necessity for supporting small-scale cottage processing and storage facilities in communities, with a strong emphasis on empowering and expanding the ownership of these facilities by smallholder women farmers cooperatives.
This strategic approach is aimed at directly addressing the challenges of postharvest losses experienced by women farmers across Nigeria.
In addition, the advocates stressed the importance of providing solar dryers to women farmers’ cooperatives to minimize losses and ensure the preservation of agricultural produce.
They also called upon both the Federal and State Governments to prioritize substantial investment in the development of rural roads to bolster transportation of agricultural produce and facilitate trade.
Further pressing for action, the advocates underscored the need for the creation of a budget line exclusively dedicated to Strengthening Access to Credit.
This initiative aims to ensure that women, youths, and farmers living with disabilities have the necessary support to navigate the complex process of accessing credit in Nigeria.
The proposed funding would focus on providing consultancy services to assist cooperatives in accessing existing agricultural credit facilities, preparing business proposals, interfacing with financial institutions, and facilitating market access.
The advocates also emphasized the urgent need for easily accessible insurance products tailored to the risk factors faced by smallholder women farmers, such as rainfall, drought, pests, and high temperatures. Moreover, they urged for a gender-sensitive approach to budget allocation, emphasizing distinct funding for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture to address the specific challenges faced by women farmers and avoid lumping budgets for women farmers.