Women in rural areas in Nigeria form the backbone of the agricultural labour force and produce more of what is eventually sold in the local and international markets mostly in Ginger Farmers and processing Sites.
Agriculture is the single most important sector of the economy as it employs about 80% of the total workforce.70%of the female populations live in rural areas, where they carry out 60-80% of the agricultural work and furnish up to 50% of the work necessary for household subsistence.
“Women Farming Without Borders Initiative” is a Non-Governmental Organisation that was born out of passion and the need to tackle the rising issues bordering on women labouring in the farm growing from the necessity to make women more productive in their personal and family lives, the NGO has set up means to empower the women especially those in the rural setting also, to become more conscious of their abilities in making sustainable means of living from farming and other menial jobs found in their localities. – Nitra/ Women constitute 68% of the labourers in the agricultural workforce, but own less than two per cent of land they cultivate or work on. Having equal access to agricultural resources can and will greatly reduce poverty among them and their families.
In comparison to men, women and girls are still more harshly affected by poverty, hunger and diseases. In most cases when food is scarce, the women in the family often get the smallest portions and while on the labour market, they are literally paid starvation wages.
“Women Farming Without Borders Initiative” plays a critical part in developing more of the rural based women, improving the women folk communities, and promoting their participation in farming to promote the economic growth of their community.
Women labouring especially those in rural areas are the breadwinners of their homes and also largely responsible for the survival of their children and larger familyt1/4 as a whole. This fact demands more sacrifices from them to keep up the pace as they undergo the harsh reality of life and face lack of medical care and balanced diets.
Women farmers constitute the majority of the agricultural labour force in small-scale and subsistence farming and play a vital role in providing food security. A majority of them work within a system of sharecropping and toil from dawn to dusk on farms for sustenance of their families. However, women sharecroppers are paid little or nothing for their labour.
Since official statistics do not capture unpaid work, be it in the garden, in the field or in the household, they insufficiently represent women’s actual share in agricultural work. Women in Africa who live in rural areas are often doubly affected by discrimination.
The chances of escaping hunger and misery increase if women become empowered in small-scale agriculture and regional developmental systems oriented primarily towards local markets and supply, and where agricultural production of export and non-food crops is only a secondary possibility to achieve additional income.
Culturally and practically in the African setting, men are the head of families and societies and are expected to transform the contours of headship to breadwinning for their families, including providing for wives, children and even extended families in some cases. This trend is not to be in contemporary times as men are confronting unemployment and retrenchment which seem to be an emerging phenomenon challenging common gender identities and roles in the context of families. Current livelihood realities reconstruct and renegotiate how household needs are met and who meets these needs. Increasing numbers of women in Africa’s urban and rural centres play breadwinning roles and become lifelines for their families.
Poor households are vulnerable to both economic and social shocks and stresses such as indebtedness due to economic, social or life-cycle events, food insecurity, health problems, productivity loss, lack of access to inputs, information and markets, gender discrimination in ownership of assets and discrimination in the labour market. The imperatives of keeping people in productive activity as well as supporting them in taking advantage of new opportunities have been important drive of Women Farming Without Borders Initiative to keep the women folk up and about to reduce the hardship otherwise faced by the whole family.
The renewed attention to agriculture in Nigeria is more focused on the importance of its growth for poverty reduction and creating sustainability in the family circle and the larger society as a whole. The increase participation of women especially those in the rural areas in agricultural growth has largely supported poverty reduction both directly and indirectly, driving economic growth more largely, increasing incomes and opportunities in both farm and non-farm activities and as well as enhancing food security.
The greatest problems of most rural women are unemployment, social and political changes which results to declining or low incomes thereby causing more economic problems. There are also cases of lack of home management and entrepreneurship, heavy workload both in paid employment and at home, inequality in free time compared to men, the low social status of rural women and the tradition that women are outsiders in public life. There is also the problem of traditional division of labour inside families and women’s economic dependence on men and depopulation of the rural areas, especially the migration of young rural women.
To exploit the linkages between social protection and agricultural growth, and improve the effectiveness of both for reducing poverty and improving food security, it is imperative that gender-sensitive measures are integrated into policy and programme design and implementation.
The Women Farming Without Borders Initiative have noted that women’s contribution to agriculture, livestock and food security is often unaccounted for as they work round the clock, tending to the farm and also taking care of their families. Recent studies show that women account for nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers and produce 70% of Africa’s food. Yet, they own less than 20% of land. Most laws of the land discriminate against women, limiting their land property rights, resulting to women farmers having access to land only through their husbands or sons. In most cases as well, the male family members move to the cities leaving women behind to tend the land that they have no right to own or, use as collateral or sell the output without consent from the men.
The Women Farming Without Borders Initiative is set out to assist women of all categories comprising of the young, aged, nursing mothers, single mother. And widows in both rural and urban areas have access to land for farming and make more cash at the end of the day instead of working they are paid paltry wages that won’t help them solve any of their immediate family problem. Sometimes some of these pregnant women worked to the extent of giving birth on the farm and cutting the cords with a dirty knife.
WFWBI – is a voice, and a smile on the face of the needy is our passion.