WSCIJ research shows that more women are involved in agriculture than men.
To substantiate this claim, WSCIJ deployed its foot soldiers to paint the plights of Nigerian women who are into agriculture. The project also involved a pictorial story of Nigerian rural women in agriculture.
The firm selected Ondo and Delta States (case studies) for the research project. This was meant to investigate the lives of rural women farmers and their challenges of combining farm work with motherhood in Nigeria using findings from these states to draw inference.
WSIJ reports that most farmers in Nigeria operate at the subsistence level. Notwithstanding , their contributions are so extensive that the country’s food security and agricultural development lie in their hands.
Most of these farmers happen to be rural women, yet development agencies have devoted very little resources to how research, new agricultural policies and modern techniques can have impacts on the well-being of Nigerian women farmers.
The report also shows that women make significant contribution to food production and processing, but men seem to take more of the farm decisions and control the productive resources.
For instance, In Ekuku-Agbor, Idumuesah and Ute Erumu town located in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, WSIJ reports that women are mostly involved in farming business.
Here are other findings;
Forty six-year old Mrs. Christiana Onybie, a farmer in Ekuku-Agbor town with seven children, said since she lost her husband to malaria in 2013, she has been the only one taking care of her children with her local palm oil mill business.
Christiana Onybie, mother of seven, lost her husband to a malaria infection and has been supporting her children through farming and casual labour jobs in a local oil palm mill.
Another farmer, Mrs. Charity Ebuniwe, 30, said she assists her husband in the farm, like so many other women in the surrounding villages in Ekuku-Agbor town. “Most of us are farmers since there are no other jobs to do apart from farming,” she said.
Eighty percent of women in Ekuku-Agbor town are farmers and, in more ways than one, also traders, Says Charity Ebuniwa, 30, “my husband and I do oil palm farming together. He harvests them from the palm tree while I gather the bunches for processing.
Production of cocoa and kolanut is also on the rise, especially in Ondo state. A visit to Odigbo Local Government Area in Ore tells the story of the hardship many women endure in their day-to-day endeavour to keep body and soul together.
The processing of cocoa and kolanut for sale, export or onward transfer to urban areas for sale, involves mostly women, with only a handful of men Mrs. Mary David says cocoa farming in Ilutuntun camp in Odigbo Local Government Area, Ondo State, is a way of life and the business is the people’s main source of livelihood, as both men and women contribute to the process.
Even with Nigeria’s unreasonable dependence on only oil to run her economy, many more exports abound. Mrs. Mary David, mother of six harvesting cocoa in her plantation farm in Ilutuntun camp in Odigbo Local Government Area, Ondo State.
The reports conclude that the contribution made by rural women to agriculture and rural development in Nigeria is grossly under-appreciated in spite of the dominant role women play in the sector “Many Nigerians are aware, though few will agree, that woman work as hard as men in many of the households in rural areas in their contribution to the household economy and food security’’ it reads.