7 Steps to promoting gender equity in Nigeria

Why Gender Equity?

To boost Nigeria’s economic, there is need to improve individual households income by bridging the gap created by inequality and inequity in the society. According to FAO, women can outperform men when given the same resources, and success stories from Agri-Projects interventions are mainly from women, this partly because women see need to improve their income more than the men, since they have to take care of the entire household, creating environment that promotes gender equity in Nigeria will in no doubt increase food security, reduce malnutrition, etc.
Various documents exists on ways to promote gender equity in Nigeria the following are ways to promote gender equity culled from our field researches on farming household in rural communities across Nigeria:
Advocacy for Policy change
There is need for formulation of policy that put women into consideration, inclusion of women right in rural institutions and organization constitution. The general by-law should be amended for gender inclusivity, such should support women representation in governance and mandate certain percentage representation of women in the executive roles in these institutions and organizations. This will help create equity so that women can be represented in the decision-making process in such institution or organization.
Capacity Building and Development
During our recent engagements with women in Nigeria, we observed that empowering women through bridging knowledge gaps resulted in the overall increase in their participation of women in farming, when women are provided with information on where and how they can function very well in agribusiness value chain, it helps reduced the bottlenecks they face in crop production, also training them on issue like financial management, organization development, group dynamics, etc. improve their skills set in agribusiness management. Given the right education and knowledge empowerment we can increase the output of women in agribusiness, this can be achieved through value chain strengthening, to provide ease to resources, access to markets etc.
Facilitating women groups (cluster) formation
This will promote resources aggregation amongst women, women can jointly combine their limited resources to be enough to go into agribusiness through cluster farming, this will reduce the stress and risk involved in individual farming while they save cost on purchasing inputs like agrochemicals, labour and other extension services, since produce will be sold in bulk, they will also be able to save cost on transportation and marketing. Women farmers groups can also be added to an existing agribusiness value chain as processors and marketers, the use of women in post-harvest operation helps provide income for women (WordlVeg, 2013).
Educating the men on need for Women inclusivity
Women play important roles in agribusiness value chains, however their contribution often remain invisible to producers (mostly men) and other value chain actors, thus there is need to educate men on the need the empower their wife, this can be achieved through sensitization on important roles played by women in their agribusiness and the in households. Also, engaging the men on the need to see their farming business as for the entire household, thus carrying along the women in the decision making process most especially on how the income from agribusiness profit is will be spent.
Off-farm crop production
Empowering women to engage on off-farm crop production like gardening, raising vegetables gardens and potted plants can provide alternative source of income for women in Nigeria communities, leaf vegetable can be cultivated ii a small space of land at close proximity to women and selling this in the local markets will help cushion bottlenecks on income generation, not only that off-farm crop production do not require as much stress as on-farm production, and it can meet the need of the household with reserve that women can earn from.
Training Women on GAP (Good Agricultural Practices)
majority of the women cultivate small farm size, to maximize profit, women should be trained on GAP that can deliver expected output, women expectation from crop production has not been met over years, this is one of the reason some resolved to processing and marketing actor in the agribusiness value chain. Encouraging women to make use of Hybrid seeds, and fertilizers micro-dosing can increase their output to meet the economic need of the household. This can be achieved by targeting women group for on-farm trials and learning plots to demonstrate GAP, so they can identify what is needed to increase their production.
Building better Business Linkages
Rural Women who produce to meet local markets demands can be trained to meet better markets demands like super markets, restaurants, hotels etc., through facilitation of quality improvement programmes, GAP. Processors and retailers are ready most times to provide access to inputs needed for out-growers, woman can be empowered and linked to such processor as an out-grower, this will reduced post-harvest lost due to more demand from larger markets, and boost women income, because better quality supplied comes with better pay.

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