The opportunities existing in the Nigerian agricultural sector are considerable – particularly for women. It is imperative to start with a quote by Michelle Bachelet, the Under -Secretary-General and Executive Director of United Nations Women and the incumbent President of Chile:
“When women are empowered and can claim their rights and access to land, leadership, opportunities and choices, economies grow, food security is enhanced and prospects are improved for current and future generations”
Women are the backbone of the development of rural and national economies. They comprise 43% of the world’s agricultural labor force, which rises to 70% in some countries.
In Africa, 80% of the agricultural production comes from small farmers, who are mostly rural women. Women comprise the largest percentage of the workforce in the agricultural sector – 80% of food producers, 10% of those who process basic foodstuffs. They undertake 60 to 90% of the rural marketing; but do not have access or control over land and other productive resources.
The agricultural sector provides various entry points for women along its value chain either as primary producers, processors, input suppliers, commercial buying agents and market linkage providers.
The present economic situation in the country presents size able challenges to women in particular in their position as wives and mothers.
But the above situation must be viewed from the standpoint of opportunity. Thus, women must imbibe an entrepreneurial disposition which seeks to make the most positive possible out of a challenging situation.
So, with good entrepreneurial skills, women who are not farmers can create size-able wealth and jobs by setting out to help farmers scale-up and boost their production and thereby make more profit by providing them guaranteed off take of their produce.
Women are thereby challenged to be value-adding in their disposition from now on and to look at the agric sector because of the possibility of return on investment which is immensely high.