Mr Lansana Wonneh, Deputy Country Representative of United Nations Women (UN Women), says rural women in Nigeria do bulk of the agricultural production but are undervalued.
Wonneh made the statement on Thursday in Calabar during the celebration of the United Nations International Day of Rural Women in collaboration with the Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN).
The theme of the event is “rural women cultivating good food for all”.
The country representative said the celebration was to acknowledge that rural women in Nigeria ensured food was produced, processed and packaged in spite of their being disadvantaged in so many ways.
He said the UN was working with the government of Nigeria to transform the situation of rural women.
“While women do a great job in food production, they face the challenges of not being included in decision making, so, they don’t participate in governance.
“We want to make sure these women realise their rights and are given adequate resources for them to be able to produce more, get more income and be able to take care of their children for the betterment of the society,” he said.
The National Chairperson of WOWICAN, Mrs Victoria Ihesiulor, said empowering rural women in agriculture was not just right but a necessary condition to fight extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
Ihesiulor said this was true because empowering them would increase agricultural production from 2.5 per cent to 4 per cent in the poorest regions and a reduction in the number of malnourished children.
“The theme of this celebration is apt because it will enable the international community to think global and act local on policy issues challenging the optimal contribution of rural women in food security.
“We therefore align ourselves to the laudable objectives of the celebration and pledge to sustain the new networks created while building on the support of UN Women to achieve more for the rural women,” she said.
Similarly, Mr Nathaniel Ellen, Chairman of the All Farmers Association (AFAN) Cross River Chapter, said attention was hardly paid on the rural woman in Nigeria, even though she was a strong pillar of the Nigerian economy.
“Our rural women still use hoes and machetes because there are no tractors to plough the land, no extension services and grappling with poor road network to take their produce to the markets.
“We need to pay attention to these women and assist them through their cooperative societies to ensure that they train their children and produce more for the society,”