Women farmers in Bauchi State have been urged to as a matter of necessity to expand their agricultural activities to cover livestock and fisheries as against total concentration on crop production.
The advice was given by the State Government through the Acting Permanent Secretary in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture, Barrister Saratu Jibrin when women farmers under the aegis of Public Finance on Agriculture (PFA) committee paid her a courtesy call in her office.
She said that opportunities also abound in livestock and fishery sectors to create more jobs for women in both urban and rural areas, adding that this would also guarantee food security for Bauchi State and the nation.
The Permanent Secretary said, “We must be mindful of our culture and tradition which may hinder some women from going to the farms even for security reasons, but the rearing of domestic animals and fishery can conveniently be undertaken by such women within their households.”
Barrister Saratu Jibrin then appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to scale up its level of awareness about the various loan schemes at its disposal, as most women groups were unaware of such services as attested to by Civil Society Organizations her ministry had interacted with.
She, however, appealed to women farmers, that while her ministry was willing to partner with them, they should always update their financial records to promote accountability and transparency, as no donor, including the CBN, would be willing to grant loans to groups with bad records.
Earlier, the chairperson of the committee, Mrs Tabawa Atiku said that with the support of Actionaid Nigeria, women farmers in Bauchi State were granted basic and affordable agricultural machinery including power tillers and improved seedlings to promote increased agricultural activities so as to fight hunger and poverty.
“I am pleased to inform you that, because of the successes achieved since 2011 when the programme started, Actionaid Nigeria with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has extended the programme by one year and equally renamed the programs as ” Scaling Up Public Investment in Agriculture SUPIA” Tabawa explained.
Mrs Tabawa Atiku appealed to the ministry to ensure that officials write what she termed “defendable and impact-oriented memos” that would easily attract governments approval rather than uncoordinated and unattractive memos that could be thrown into the dustbin.
She also reminded the government about its pledge to employ extension workers as well as fulfil its promise to train women farmers on various aspects of agriculture including livestock development.