The Centre for Women in Agriculture and Nutrition (C-WAN), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called for the establishment of land banks to promote rural women farmers access to productive land.

There is also the need to establish mechanization centres to target women farmers in rural areas.

The NGO made the call in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mr Emmanuel W. Wullingdool, on the occasion of the celebration of this year’s International Day of Rural Women, under the theme: “Building Rural Women Resilience in the Wake of COVID-19.”

It noted that the United Nations (UN) estimated that less than 20 per cent of landholders worldwide were women, stressing that if women in rural areas had the same access to agricultural assets, education and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million.

The statement indicated that majority of rural women were engaged in agriculture but were confronted with serious challenges, including issues of access and ownership of land, access to quality credit, access and use of certified seeds and access to mechanization services, among others.

Again, it noted that rural women were disadvantaged in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic following the disruption in the supply chain of agriculture produce, hence the need for remedial measures like the stimulus package to help improve their living conditions.

The Centre pointed out that the provision of adequate and timely support to rural women would not only ensure food security in the country but also smart economics.

“The Centre wishes to commend the government for its efforts aimed at improving the lots of rural women through the women in Agriculture Development of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and other policy intervention,” the statement said.

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