Benin, Nov. 29, 2023 (NAN) The Federal Government Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) project, on Wednesday, inaugurated the Edo chapter of Women in Agriculture in the Niger Delta.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that LIFE-ND is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in collaboration with the federal government and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The inauguration was done during a policy meeting with the Youths in Agriculture Network in Benin.
Inaugurating the group, the Rural Coordinator of LIFE-ND in Rivers, Dr Clement Uwew, said the exercise was aimed at giving women a voice in influencing policy decisions in rural institutions and organisations.
Uwew said that about 40 women farmers were selected from different parts of the state and different agricultural value chains for the formation of the network in the Niger Delta region.
“So, with the establishment of a women in agriculture network, we want to achieve a strategic framework where women will be encouraged as farmers to form themselves into groups to have their voices heard.
“IFAD believes that when you give women a voice to influence policy decisions in rural institutions and organisations, they will contribute more to agriculture.
“Therefore, we hope to mobilise and have a network of women in the state that will be able to tackle the challenges women face daily.
“This network of women will be empowered with advocacy skills about the different stakeholders that will help them address peculiar challenges that women face, aggravated by gender inequality,” he said.
Uwew said that IFAD would speak by themselves, with a break-out session to address infrastructure, ease of doing business, gender issues and what had been affecting them generally as farmers.
“We hope to see a strong network that will bring all the networks in the state toward addressing their peculiar needs.
“These women are going to be trained on skills, including extension services.
“People living with disabilities will also be included in the network. LIFE-ND project is gender inclusive and encompassing in all aspects of social inclusion.
“Today, 40 women are here representing different sections and we hope that they will mobilise and bring more women to the network so that every community will be represented,” the coordinator said.
Speaking at the occasion, the acting State Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND in Edo, John Omoruyi, said that the women network would be a catalyst for social and economic change.
“Women farmers’ network is an incredible catalyst for social and economic change. It will help them to make a difference in their various communities and households,” he said.
According to Omoruyi, when women network, their productivity will increase, while hunger and malnutrition will reduce.
Mrs Stellamaris Olounmeh, a fish farmer, who spoke on behalf of the women, thanked IFAD for the opportunity, with a promise that they would adhere to the terms of reference.