The Bauchi State Government has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to scale up credit facilities for women farmers, so as to improve food production in the state.
Mrs Saratu Jibrin, the acting Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Agriculture, made the call when the Public Finance on Agriculture (PFA) committee visited her on Tuesday, in Bauchi.
“We are appealing to the CBN to scale up its credit facilities and level of awareness on the schemes available to farmers for women to access.
“Majority of women farmers and groups are not aware of such facilities as attested by Civil Society Organisations that interacted with the ministry recently’’, she said.
Jibrin also called on women farmers to collaborate with the ministry and always update their financial records to promote accountability and transparency, saying that no credit agency or partners, would be willing to grant credit facilities to groups or association with poor data and record.
She also encouraged women farmers to expand their agricultural activities to livestock and fisheries as against concentrating solely on crop production.
The acting permanent secretary noted that the livestock and fisheries sectors offered opportunities for more jobs creation for women, in both urban and rural areas.
She added that venturing into those sectors could also guarantee food security in the state and the country at large.
“We must be mindful of our culture and tradition which may hinder some women from going to the farms even for security reasons.
“But rearing of domestic animals and fishery can conveniently be undertaken by such women within their households,” she said.
Earlier, Mrs Tabawa Atiku, the state Chairperson of the PFA Committee, said with the support of ActionAid Nigeria, women farmers in the state had been granted basic and affordable agricultural machinery such as power tillers, and improved seedlings to promote increased agricultural activities to fight hunger and poverty.
“I am pleased to inform you that because of the successes achieved since 2011 when the programme started, ActionAid Nigeria, with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have extended the programme.
“They have extended the programme by one year and renamed the programme as “Scaling Up Public Investment in Agriculture “SUPIA”, she said .
Atiku counseled the Ministry to ensure that officials always wrote “defendable and impact oriented memos’’ that could easily attract the government’s approval, rather than uncoordinated and unattractive memos that could end up in the dustbin.
Atiku also reminded the government about its pledge to employ extension workers, as well as the need for it to fulfill its promise to train women farmers on various aspects of agriculture, including livestock development. (NAN)