United Nations Women has lunched Climate Smart Agriculture programme aimed at promoting women’s economic empowerment through Climate-Resilient Agribusiness in Nigeria.
The programme was lunched on Friday February 14, 2020 at Osborne La Palm Royal Hotels, no. 1 Osborne avenue, off Kpirikpiri Road, Mile 50, Ebonyi State.
The flagship programme was in partnership with FAO, ILO and UNIDO and only two states in Nigeria which are Niger and Ebonyi were selected for the pilot scheme.
In these states, five local government areas were selected. In Niger state, Mashegu, Munya and Katcha local government areas were chosen, while in Ebonyi state, Ezza South and Ohaozara were selected.
The flagship programme is also aimed at ensuring that rural women and girls are economically empowered, and able to benefit increasingly from the economic initiatives, programmes and reforms in Nigeria whilst the seed funding of the programme, is from Standbic IBTC Bank.
Speaking at the event, the Governor of Ebonyi state, Engr. David Umahi, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, described the programme as a unique and flashy one because it’s anchoring an already established programme in women empowerment.
“It is showcasing empowerment not only in agriculture but in security and other essential areas of human existence.
“We welcome the lunch of the programme in Ebonyi and it didn’t come as a surprise because we have been empowering women. We have strived to elevate our women from the level we met them when we came on board in 2015.
“We will give every support needed for the programme to succeed. We shall continue to encourage women to go into business and women do well in agriculture because in everything they do, they do with all their whole body and mind. They give in all they have got in doing so.
“We shall continue to aid, support, encourage and give them a push until they become what God has created them to be come. When they are empowered the society benefits even more.
“This programme has become a stimulant for us as government to enable Ebonyi become strong in Ebonyi,” he stated
Dr Igwe urged UN women to have the peculiar needs of Ebonyi women when carrying out the project, stating that the reason some programmes failed in the state was because development partners come with their own templates and force it on the people without due consideration to their needs and culture.
In her remarks, wife of the governor, Mrs. Rachel Umahi, represented by Mrs. Patience Offor Okorie, noted that the project came at the right time to illustrate how women empowerment makes changes in the nation’s existence.
She noted that the present administration has made empowerment of women a priority, calling on others to join in women empowerment as doing so provides economic society at home, gives opportunity for a level play environment to bring to the fur the issue of climate change and how it affects women farmers in Ebonyi.
She said it will also go a long way to equip the women for the fight ahead.
“I will support this initiative and l will devote my time in ensuring that the programme is a success in Ebonyi,” she assured
Earlier in her keynote address, the UN Women country representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, stated that in Nigeria that UN Women is working to support the government of Nigeria’s national developmental priorities and frameworks, which are anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The contribution that agriculture can make to 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is enormous.
“The agriculture is directly and indirectly linked to over half of the 17 SDGs. These include SDG 1 on Ending Poverty as rural people make up 70% of the world’s poor; SDG 5 on Gender Equality, given the differences in men and women farmers access to land and other productive resources; SDG 8 on Descent Work and Economic Growth as agriculture can be an engine of employment and SDG on Climate change as sustainable agriculture can provide a solution to the risk of food shortages as a result of climate change.
“The project we are launching today is therefore situated within boarder efforts to support accelerated progress and realization of the SDGs, Ms. Lamptey noted.”
She said the project will support women’s groups and Cooperatives working on the rice value chain to overcome the barriers faced by women and improve their productivity and income through technology skills, markets and services.
“The innovative project aims to close the gender gap in ownership and control of productive resources including land- and active participation in decision-making in the management of these resources. In Ebonyi state, two local government areas, Ezza South and Ohaozara are benefiting from the pilot project.
“Rice has become the fastest growing sub-sector in Nigeria and Ebonyi state is undoubtedly the highest rice processor in Nigeria with over 405, 000MT, and over 2, 080, 000MT per annum capacity- and the sub-sector is largely driven by women, further highlighting to give more women the chance to improve their livelihoods and bridge the gender gaps in agriculture as a whole; which is what these Women Economic Empowerment- Climate Smart Agriculture project (WEE-CSA) intends to achieve.
She further enumerated their aims to include, increase in women’s secure land tenure, ensuring that female smallholder farmers’ productive in changing climate is increased and physical burden for agriculture work reduced.
To also ensure that financing barriers are removed and women’s capacity to invest climate resilient agriculture is increased, to ensure opportunity for female smallholder farmers to move up with value chain promoted; with access to diverse high-value markets. And institutional coordination and knowledge management through research for development is improved.
Others who spoke include, the state commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Ogodo Moses Ali, representative of Women Rice Farmers and Beneficiaries Women Rice Farmers Cooperatives, Mrs. Chukwu Mercy, representative of Chief Executive Director of Stanbic IBTC Bank, (Dr. Demola Sogunle), Mr. Victor Ekeocha, representative of the country Director, UNIDO, Dr Otu Osu.
Meanwhile the Governor also after the lunch of the CSA Project, inaugurated the Steering Committee of the CSA Project.