In a crucial stakeholder meeting with the government, women farmers from Kwara State, operating under the umbrella of the Small Scale Women Farmers Organization Of Nigeria (SWOFON), expressed their deep concerns over critical challenges affecting their agricultural activities.
The interactive session, with ministries, departments, agencies and other stakeholders funded by Action Aid Nigeria through the Scaling Up of Public Investment In Agriculture (SUPIA) project, implemented by the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), addressed pressing issues faced by the farming community.
Saheed Hajara, a farmer from Kaiama Local Government Area, emphasized the abundance of food in the region. However, she highlighted the severe impact of inaccessible roads, making it difficult to transport their produce to town, thereby hampering their livelihoods and food security.
Meanwhile, farmers from ASA and OFFA local government lamented the prevailing insecurity, citing disturbances by Fulani Herdsmen, who not only posed a threat to the farmers but also damaged their crops by allowing their cattle to graze freely.
Furthermore, farmers from Isin, Ifelodun LGA, raised concerns about the escalating costs of essential farming elements such as fertilizer, farm mechanisms, seeds, and labour.
Meanwhile, farmers from Irepodun, Edu, Ilorin West, and East appealed for women-friendly farm mechanisms, increased allocations for agriculture, and improved access to credit loans to enhance their productivity.
In response, Aliyu Abubakar, the representative of the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, advised the farmers to engage local hunters and embrace cluster farming to mitigate insecurity challenges within their localities.
He further added that the government intends to address the issue of road accessibility by implementing the RAM (Rural Access and Mobility) program in the state. This initiative aims to connect vital roads from farmlands to marketplaces, ensuring better access for farmers and facilitating the transportation of goods.
Prominent agricultural stakeholder, AbdulRahman Akindele Ayuba, founder of the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), underscored the meeting’s significance. He emphasized its focus on the new executive’s priorities and its commitment to addressing challenges affecting agriculture in Kwara State.
In her remarks, the recently appointed coordinator of SWOFON, Ndako Elizabeth from Patigi LGA expressed gratitude to her colleagues for their votes of confidence. She pledged to represent everyone fairly, ensuring transparency, and committed to serving with dedication and diligence.