The Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA) has asked for equitable opportunities in agriculture for women farmers.
Mrs Anthonia Amakwe, the chairman of AWITA, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to Amakwe, women farmers are marginalized and have fewer chances than their male colleagues.
She urged the government to implement measures that would allow women farmers to receive grants rather than loans.
“We need to create an enabling environment for women farmers to break grounds in the sector like their male counterparts.
“What women farmers need is not loans but grants to enable them thrive and continually contribute their quota to the agriculture sector.
“Women farmers do not have collateral to get loans like the men and so they are all limited to expanding their business,’’ she said.
Amakwe said women farmers need not only farm inputs to run their operations.
“Most male farmers have collateral to access loans but most women do not, especially in the rural areas.
“‘Even if women farmers are given loans, it should be a one-digit interest loan and they should be granted a long-term to repay the loans.
“If it is a one digit interest loan, it will be easier for these farmers to pay the loan at ease,” the chairperson told NAN.
Amakwe also called for training and provision of machinery for women farmers in order to increase their contribution to the sector and food security.
“Machinery and consistent training should be available for women farmers to also increase their productivity and contribution to food security.
“These trainings should be done in local dialects for capacity building because most of these women farmers are located in the rural areas.
“Women farmers at the grassroots do not have the enabling environment to increase their productivity.
“Even the means of transportation to take their produce to the market is difficult. Most times these women sell at a loss just for their basic needs.
“Equal opportunities should be created for everyone in the sector, let there be a level playing ground for both men and women farmers to boost food production for Nigeria,” Amakwe said.