WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN TRANSFORMATION OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
Background of the Study
Agricultural production is an important activity of any country. In Nigeria, in the early sixties, agricultural exports, were primarily responsible for the gross domestic product growth of five percent per annum provided mainly by the employment of unused labour of men and women. (Onwubuya, 1987).
Women’s fundamental activities in agriculture are numerous. In Nigeria, as noted by Chole (1991), women play a particular important role in crop production, including land preparation, planting of crops, maintaining of crops, harvesting, transporting, processing, storing and marketing of produce. They are involved in animal husbandry activities. They feed and care for farm animals such as poultry, goats, pigs and rabbits they also process and market animal products.
Rural women provide sixty to eighty percent of agricultural labour and they participate in all aspects of production, Ukonze (2001). Buserup (1970) agreed that women also do transplanting and weeding work. The author also noted that women provide production inputs, organize labour and participate in the processing and sales of the crops.
Ogbonna (1989) stated that women also grow secondary crops in small fields near the major food and cash crops. The author went further to say that secondary crops such as bambara nut and groundnut are intercropped with stable cereals, roots and tubers. They balance soil nutrients, provide ground cover which improves water retention and erosion control and may help to reduce crop diseases and pests. Ogbuibe (1984) added that women’s concern with family food supplies sometimes leads them to cultivate some fields of early maturing grains. Women have important labour roles in animal production which vary according to type of production system (nomadic, Semi-nomadic, settled, extensive) (Hatem, 1983). In all types of animal production systems, women play predominant roles in processing particular milk by-products such as fermented milk, butter and fresh cheese. Dew (1981) pointed out that women commonly own small animals especially chickens, guinea fowls and goats but to a lesser extent, also sheep.
Processing of agricultural produce is traditionally women’s responsibility. In line with this, Buserup (1970) stated that women process secondary foods at home, providing for example, groundnut oil, palm oil, soap and garri, green leaves and vegetables, fruits, spices and roots are often processed into cheese products. They also process dried milk into fresh cheese or fermented milk. The women farmers also take care of marketing of these agricultural products in rural and urban market centers (Chole, 1991).
In order to encourage women in agricultural production, Women In Agriculture (WIA) was created as component of Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs). Agricultural Development projects are projects jointly sponsored by the Federal and state Governments in Co-operation with the world Bank, which provides both technical and financial support to the farmers. The ADPS are selected in the target communities. These farmers are referred to as contact farmers. Extension workers receive training on the specific innovations to be introduced to the farmers and after wards are sent to the contact farmers to educate them on the new agricultural practices. It is expected that the new practices will eventually spread among other farmers in the community.
The Women In Agriculture (WIA) is a branch of Agricultural Development project (ADP). This WIA was established in 1989 in order to put into efficient use, the full potentials of the land worked by women, their capital investment, labour expenditure and other vital agricultural activities WIA programme was established in ADPs by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Home Economic Division in collaboration with the world Bank (ENADEP, 1995). This is to ensure that more female extension workers are employed to work with the women farmers who hitherto were not sufficiently being attended to by the male extension agents.
The emphasis is on the need to ensure that women farmers are adequately reached with extension services (improved technologies, labour saving equipment, inputs and credits) as regards crop and livestock production, storage, processing and marketing of agricultural produce.
WIA provides vital information to women farmers in relations to crop and livestock production. The information includes better varieties of crops, good management operations; inputs like improved planting materials, fertilizers, chemicals and loan procurement. The extension workers in WIA also provide the needed information regarding the better breeds of livestock, good management activities and balance ration formulation, pest and disease control. They provide improved planting materials which they sell to the women farmers to multiply in their different farms (ENADEP, 1985).
Statement of the Problem
Women as farmers, workers, and entrepreneurs face more constraints than men in accessing productive resources, markets and services – a “gender gap” – which hinder their effective participation in socio – economic (including agriculture) and political activities thereby reducing their contributions to the attainment of broader societal goals (FAO, 201
There are empirical evidences – that increased equality in access to economic assets – has shown a significant raise in the productivity of female producers. This in turn helps improve household welfare through better bargaining power. These evidences concluded that increasing women’s control over economic assets have strong and immediate effects on the welfare of the next generation and on the level and pace at which physical and human capital are accumulated. The evidences also demonstrated that although there are forms of structural discrimination against women in relation to access to credit networks; women borrowers have lower risk of default as a result of lower prevalence of corruption and bribes among women groups leading to higher repayment rates (World Bank 2004; Whitehead, 2003; Blackden and Bhanu, 1999; World Bank 2002e, 2001a; Bamberger, et al. 2002).
In order to transform agriculture sector, the Nigerian government undertook a study in the year 2000 on the “Nigeria Rural Agricultural Sector Strategy”, which resulted in 2001 into a new Rural Development Strategy as a means of effectively operationalizing the agricultural policy with the main principles of policy intervention; policy consistency; improved participation through programmes and supports; intervention sustainability; and enhancing greater equity among all participants so as to reduce poverty; improve food security; and increase provision of rural infrastructural facilities (African Development Fund, 2003).
As a result of this study, a new Agricultural Policy was adopted by the government of Nigeria in October 2001 replacing the one enacted in 1989 aimed at: re- organizing the institutional framework for government intervention in the sector through its organizations (ADPs); creating a conducive macro-economic environment to stimulate greater private sector investment in agriculture; rationalizing the roles of different tiers of government; actualizing and implementing integrated rural development through mainstreaming women in development; increased budgetary allocation to enhance production and productivity; increased fiscal incentives to agriculture and reviewing trade relations; and promoting increased use of machinery and inputs through favorable tariff policy (African Development Fund, 2003). Agricultural Projects and agricultural new policies were added to “the Community Based Agriculture and Rural Development Support” in collaboration with international donors such as the World Bank, United Nations, UNDP, IMF, etc. so as to effectively and efficiently put rural development on the sustainable course.
KADP was established to actualize national policy objectives as well as to make Kogi State “food sustenance” and raise living standard of the rural populace through increased income from higher agricultural productivity; to ensure sustainable rural development with special reference to women. Despite the activities of KADP, women farmers in the state still face some challenges such as lack of land, financial assistance inconsistence markets for their produce, bad road network for easy transportation of farm produce, lack of fertilizer and chemicals for their crops. Therefore, there is need to evaluate the role and impact of KADP in promoting women participation in agriculture in the State since its inception; and it is this that induce the write up of this thesis.
From the above statement of the problem, the following questions are imperative:
i. What is the extent of women participation in agricultural production in Kogi State?
ii. What are the constraints being faced by Women in their participation in agriculture in Kogi State?
iii. To what extent has Kogi Agricultural Development Project impacted on women participation in agriculture since inception?
iv. What other policy options can enhance Kogi Agricultural Development Project to perform its role in mainstreaming women participation in agriculture in Kogi State?
The main objective of this study is to analyze women participation in agriculture: the role and impact of Kogi Agricultural Development Project (KADP); while specific objectives include:
i. To examine socio-demographic characteristics of women farmers in Kogi State
ii. To evaluate the extent of Women participation in agricultural production in Kogi State
iii. To identify constraints that women face in their participation in agriculture in Kogi State
iv. To investigate the impact of KADP on women participation in agriculture since its inception\
v. To proffer other policy options that can enhance the role of KADP in mainstreaming Women participation in agriculture in Kogi State
Justification of the Study
One of the justifications of this study is that it will provide evidence that women play an important role through their participation in agriculture in various countries and if similar policy intervention is pursued by the Nigerian government and the government of Kogi State in particular, agriculture sector could be revived with little efforts as compared to previous ones by providing the need for considering women in State’s developmental policies for meaningful sustainable progress to be achieved in socio – economic and political sectors of Kogi State. The study will also prove that one of the reasons responsible for the underperformance of agricultural sector in many developing countries including Nigeria is due to women (given their roles as farmers, labourers, and entrepreneurs) exclusion from participating in agriculture through policy interventions with focus that the benefit received by the head of the family (man) will as well spread to female members of the family. The study will enable women to understand their role in fostering agricultural development through their effective participation, particularly in Kogi State and evaluates structural constraints that may hinder their participation in agriculture sector as well as present clear picture on the role and impact of KADP on gender issues in the State. In addition, it will contribute to the existing literature on the role of women participation in agriculture and the impact the ADPs played on fostering integrated rural development in Nigeria.
The activities of the women farmers in Kogi State were evaluated with respect to the impact of KADP on their role in rural development of the State. Given the objectives of this research study, three local government areas (LGAs): Lokoja, Okene, and Ankpa LGAs; each from one senatorial zone, were selected for the analysis of the study. Samples were drawn from these LGAs based on the senatorial division of the State: Kogi East, Kogi Central, and Kogi North and from each senatorial zone; one LGA was purposivelyselected. Kogi State lies in the north central geo-political zone, located between longitudes 5 18 E to 7 45 E and latitudes 6 30N to 80 42 N. Kogi state is characterized by low and high lands. In low land areas are extensive plains, alluvial and swampy features and these occur along the Niger and Benue valleys. Areas of high elevation are found in most parts of the state. The scope of the thesis covered between 1993 to2010. One of the limitations of the study is financing which limit the scope into three selected LGAs. Time frame within which the study is to be completed is another limitation of the study. However, data collected from the field with the instrument is effectively analyzed through descriptive method from which conclusion and recommendations are drawn.