IFAD/LIFE-ND establishes networks to empower Abia women, youths in agric

By Leonard Okachie
 The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) has established separate networks to empower Abia women and youths in agriculture.
The Rural Institution, Youth and Gender Development Coordinator, LIFE-ND, Dr Clement Uwem, said in Umuahia, on Friday, that the platforms sought to address gender gaps and challenges faced by both groups in agriculture.
Uwem said that it is a direct response to IFAD strategic framework 2015/2016 – 2025, which seeks to give equal voices to men and women in agriculture.
According to him, it is to ensure that all the genders exert equal influence in the rural institution they are operating.
The women queue to elect their leaders.
He said that women are dominant in agricultural but faced with challenges, such as relatively poor access to land, inputs and funds to improve their production, productivity, income and livelihood.
“IFAD believes that if you give women a voice, they will be able to air their views and the appropriate authorities will incorporate their voices and decision in developing the agricultural sector.
“So, for them to have a women-only group, there is need to have a Women in Agriculture Network, where they could be heard and discuss freely without the interference from the men or youths,” Uwem said.
The Rural Institution, Youth and Gender Development Coordinator, LIFE-ND, Dr Clement Uwem.


Speaking further on the Youths in Agriculture Network, he said that it is the platform that gives the youths the opportunity to discuss some of their challenges in agriculture.
“Basically, the youths have a lot of challenges they face in agriculture and there is need for them to have an action plan on how to overcome some of them by engaging with the relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Uwem said that the networks, which are basically for the Niger Delta, had already been established in Delta and Cross River, while disclosing that Edo would be the next state.
The newly elected President of Women in Agriculture Network in Abia, Mrs Rose Nwachukwu, who expressed gratitude over the initiative, promised to work hard for the women voices to be heard.
She said: “As women, we face a lot of problems in agriculture, especially that of fund, but we will ask the government to support us so that we can hire land and plant whatever we want.
“The first thing we will do is to meet the Commissioner for Women Affairs, who will direct us on the next step to take.”
Also, the new President of Youths in Agriculture in Abia, Chukwemeka Nwadibia, said that the youths would use the platform to interface with the government on their challenges and how they could contribute meaningfully to the economy of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two groups had their executive members inaugurated immediately after talks and group discussions on their challenges in agriculture. (NAN)