UN, CAN mark International Day of Rural Women in Cross River
By Joseph Ephriam
The United Nation have collaborated with Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria to celebrate this years International Day of Rural women in Cross River State.
This years celebration with the theme “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All”, highlights the essential role that rural women and girls play in the food systems of the world.
The Deputy Country Representative for UN Women in Nigeria, Mr Lansana Wonneh noted that women labour from production of crops to processing, preparing and distributing foods, yet, they do not yield equal power with men, and as a result, they earn less income and experience higher food insecurity.
“This celebration is important for two reason, one is to acknowledge the fact that women particularly in Nigeria, they do the bulk work around food production, processing and marketing of food commodities.
“Also to acknowledge that while they do that big job they face a lot of challenges, some of those challenges is that they are not properly included in decision making, so they don’t participate in governance, they don’t get the resources that they should get from government or even the private sector, they have issues of lack of infrastructure, lack of financial support, even access to land and land ownership.
According to him, “We are here to work with the government and the people of Nigeria to transform the situation of rural women.
Adding, “Two things we want to do, we want to make sure they realize their right, that they are given adequate resources, that they are able to produce more, they get more income to take care of their family and make the Nigeria society a good one.
The national chairperson, Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOMICAN), Deaconess Amb. Victoria Bolanle Ihesiulor chairperson in her welcome address, emphasized that empowering the rural women in agriculture is not just the right thing to do but a necessary condition in the fight against extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition. This is because their
empowerment contributes to significant increases in agricultural production from 2.5 to 4 % in the poorest of regions and a reduction in the number of malnourished children from 12% to 17%.
She stresses that this year’s theme 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 agriculture to the food security chain and she pledges to sustain the new network created at the event while building on the support of the UN Women to achieve more for rural women.
Also speaking at the event, Chairman, All Farmers Association Nigeria (AFAN) , Cross River State branch, Pastor Nathaniel Ellem, noted that empowering the rural women economically and socially is crucial to foster sustainable economies that will benefit all humankind across the globe.
However, he decried government non inclusiveness of rural women in agricultural policies and he highlighted the challenges of rural women farmers to range from good roads, poor funding, flooding, no mechanized farming, unavailability of land, no attention given to rural women cooperative and government not giving empowerment to both the able and disabled rural women.