Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION: Women in Nigeria are more involved in informal than formal entrepreneurship. This is largely due to low level of literacy, lack of access."— Presentation transcript:
INTRODUCTION: Women in Nigeria are more involved in informal than formal entrepreneurship. This is largely due to low level of literacy, lack of access to macro credit, difficulties in establishing a formal enterprise that requires the formation of a limited Liability company, and difficulty in producing products that meet international standards.
The roles and activities of women in Agriculture are of extreme improtance in the following ways: Women constitutes about 65% of about 80% of farmers domiciled in the rural areas They derive their livelihood from agriculture. The fact that they eat what they produce expose them more to the incidences of mycotoxin infection. They are involved in the production of a variety of agricultural commodities including crops, livestock, fisheries. They are involved in the entire value chain vis production, storage, processing, marketing and utilisation.
Women promote food security,and nutrition in our communities, earn extra money to educate their children and to meet other socio economic needs through agricultural activities. There are however religious and cultural biases between the regions about the extent of the freedom and access for women. The women in the Southern part of the country especially Lagos and Cross River States (fish) have better access to retail and whole sale markets as traders and business women.
The major constraints to women generally and in agriculture are in the following areas: Finance : Capital funding has been the main constraint because of the prevailing lending structure whereby collateral is required in the form of Certificate of Occupancy which means land ownership. Women also do not have easy access to micro finance because it is often not possible for women to guarantee such credits. Funding is usually from personal savings, family income, contributions (ajo or esusu in local language), loans from friends and family which amount to very little. The greater percentage of women cannot purchase large volumes of goods and are therefore not wholesalers. They are usually sub distributors (attachments) who sometimes have to buy on credit which reduces their profit margins. There are few women wholesalers who are able to access capital funds because of inheritance, support from their husbands and family or who pull resources together on individual basis or as members of a cooperative society or group.
Access to credit supply :Input suppliers do not sell to women on credit, however they sell to cocoa farmers who are men, this is because they cannot monitor the harvest of other agricultural products. Lack of access to appropriate institutional infrastructure : The most important of these are energy (electricity), good roads and marketing structure. Most agricultural produce are perishable and without the appropriate storage facilities, there is increase in post harvest losses especially during retail marketing. Most women also are not able to own or rent marketing structures such as shops, market stalls,kiosks, and in the case of fish and fish products, cold storage facilities and refrigerated display cabinets which otherwise would enhance their trade. The problem is further compounded by the fact that they have to move their commodities from place to place which exposes the commodities to the changes in weather. There are quality issues with fast deteriorating products because of the varying weather conditions. The women do not process their products in the appropraite way. Drying is sometimes done on road hangers and on bare floor where they are exposed to feacal wastes of passing animals, dust and at times rain. Goods are also displayed by roadside or make- shift selling points within markets, because the women lack the ability to own proper stoarge facilities.There are also quality issues with transportation of agricultural produces.
Markets : There are very few commodity markets or community centres. This poses a challenge to the women as it makes communal trading, whereby resources can be pulled together for shared facilities, very difficult and impractical. Knowledge gap : Lack of training in commodity handling, packaging and preservation. Gender justice : In most family situations, once the woman is involved in any form of trade, all the family responsibilities are left on her to shoulder. The support from the man stops or reduces. The financial pressure and burden reduce the womans emotional capacity for effective management of her trade especially where the financial commitments are related to the health or education of members of the family.
CHARACTERISTICS AND CHALLENGES IN MITIGATION STRATEGIES: Problems of droughts, pest stress, moisture /rainfall during harvest, fungus during harvest Current level of knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) amongst women/ cooperatives. Support from government to women farmers to procure needed equipment (pesticides, wooden pallets, field implements, storage bags and facilities etc.) to implement GAP including good post-harvest handling practices. Aflatoxin awareness : No monitoring for moisture content or aflatoxins, there are no equipment for such tests. Good Market Facilities: Lack of support for good marketing structures(transportation,storage,and hygiene) that will minimise contamination,
POSSIBLE AREAS OF INTERVENTION : Capacity development: Improved Extension Service and Awareness; Training in planting, processing, packaging and marketing, elementary (basic) financial management; Distribution of simple testing kits. Development of packages for improved access to funds Establishment of markets with appropriate infrastructures and sanitation. Provision of farm/marketing inputs.
Having identified the various constraints militating against the empowerment of women to become active participants in the SME and MME sectors of the agricultural sector a definite plan of action/intervention will improve their contributions to the sector. CONCLUSION Most women in Nigeria involved in the production, handling and trading of agricultural commodities are very hard working. Given the neccessary sensitisation and training,these women will easily adjust and contribute their quota to minimse the impact of aflatoxin.In so doing they will improve their income and general welfare.