The Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) has called on the federal government to provide grants to farmers in order to help them cope with the various disasters that affected farming this year and, accordingly, increase food production.
Speaking at the SWOFON Leadership Forum in Abuja, Safiya Yahaya, the organization’s state coordinator for Kogi, called on the government to offer aid in the form of grants and not loans, given that most farmers don’t have the ability to pay back loans, whereas grants would enable many to return to their farms.
“In 2020 alone, COVID-19 affected farming after which flooding came. In many areas, people could not go to farm because of insecurity,” Yahaya said.
The forum was organized in collaboration with ActionAid in light of the Malabo Agreement on agricultural growth for Africa.
In 2014, the Malabo Summit reconfirmed that agriculture should remain high on the development agenda for Africa, noting that it was a critical policy initiative for the continent’s economic growth and poverty reduction.
The SWOFON serves as an advocacy group for smallholder women farmers in Nigeria. It works to encourage rural economic development and increase food production by building the capacity of women farmers to demand their rights and privileges from the appropriate authorities.
Zainab Isah Arah, the state coordinator for Zamfara, also requested grants and agricultural inputs like seedlings, farm kits and fertilizer from the government, stressing that 2020 has been a difficult year for farmers in Nigeria and that they need assistance and support.
“We have over 7, 000 Cooporatives [sic] under SWOFON in Zamfara, so imagine the number of farmers we can impact and at the same time boost our level of output in food production this year,” Arah said.