From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
Rural women farmers in parts of Kwara State, under the aegis of Small holder Women Farmers Association of Nigeria (SHOWFAN), have cried out over incessant attack by Fulani herdsmen on their farms.
The women farmers are drawn from Asa, Offa, Kaiama, Baruten, Patigi, Edu local government areas, and parts of Ilorin metropolis.
Speaking during a meeting with the permanent secretary, Kwara state ministry of agriculture and natural resources, Ilorin on Monday, the women who were led by the Senior Programme Officer, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE)/Actionaid
Nigeria, Ayuba Abdulrahman, said the women had suffered losses and experienced trauma.
One of the rural women farmers, Zainab Yahaya, from Kaiama local government area of the state, lamented that she cried for three months upon losses she suffered when Fulani herdsmen chased her away from her farm and allowed their cattle to feed on her crops.
The women farmers, who also called on all concerned authorities to help find solutions to some of the challenges being faced in their farming profession, said they needed government assistance on improved seedlings, access to soft loan, provision insecticide and fertilisers.
The senior programme officer of CCEPE, in consultation with the women farmers also appealed to the state ministry of agriculture to always interact with the farmers, who he said are primary stakeholders, during annual budget preparation.
“This, in our own opinion will help in ensuring a more robust, pro-farmers and gender responsive agriculture budget”, he said, hoping that the needs of the women farmers would be incorporated in the state 2015 supplementary budget.
Also speaking, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ayobola Samuel, commended efforts of the rural women farmer in the production of large quantities of agricultural food for the populace, rather than engaging in begging to survive,
stressing that if one is well fed, he will be less susceptible to ill-health.
The permanent secretary, who was represented by the Director, Finance and Supply in the ministry, Alhaji M.B. Abioye, enjoined them to continue to live in peace with their settlers, adding, that government was already looking into the matter with a view to resolving it.
Abioye, who said that the state government has a department for women farmers, added that they were always taken into cognisance in the annual budgeting based on their roles in agricultural production.
He also said that the state government had established state agricultural mall, and enjoined them to patronise the outfit in order to take care of some of their needs.
The permanent secretary said the agro-mall would also provide the link or connection with relevant ministries, commercial banks and micro-finance banks to obtain loan with low interest rates, adding that government could not provide such loan.
He also said that the agro-mall could assist them in selling their farm produce without being cheated by middle men.