AFAN Endorses, Supports Newly Formed Women’s Association

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AFAN Market women
A cross section of market women during the workshop in Abuja.

The leadership of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has endorsed and supported the newly formed Nigeria Women for Agricultural Progressive and Development Initiative (NWAPDI).

Last Tuesday, the national coordinator and president of NWAPDI, Omolara Svensson announced that NWAPDI had pulled out of AFAN due to poor inclusion of women in AFAN’s activities and a lingering leadership tussle within the farmers’ umbrella body.

In a show of solidarity, AFAN president, Arc. Kabir Ibrahim expressed support for NWAPDI during a train-the-trainer workshop on safety and security for women farmers from north-central Nigeria, held on Thursday in Abuja. Ibrahim emphasised the importance of supporting and encouraging women in agriculture for national development.

Speaking on the recent split, Ibrahim highlighted the need for all well-meaning Nigerians to support women farmers to boost food production and achieve food security.  “I am glad that women are coming together. They are focused. Women in agriculture are reliable and credit-worthy. They will carve a niche in agriculture. Everybody will look for them. AFAN will also look for them. These people are farmers. AFAN is the umbrella body of all farmers in Nigeria. We know that women must be encouraged to do agriculture in Nigeria.”

Svensson welcomed AFAN’s endorsement and support. She explained that NWAPDI’s withdrawal from AFAN aimed to enhance agricultural productivity in Nigeria and involve more women in various agricultural sectors, including production, processing, trade and commerce. Svensson assured that NWAPDI would collaborate with AFAN once its leadership issues were resolved to ensure food sustainability in Nigeria and promote agriculture as a primary source of wealth in the country and Africa.

Svensson also urged the Federal Government to prioritize the security and safety of women in agriculture. While acknowledging the current administration’s efforts to ensure food security, she advised the government to focus on capacity building for women farmers to guarantee their safety on farms and in processing plants. Svensson revealed that NWAPDI would organize safety and security training for women in agriculture across all states. The workshops have already begun simultaneously in Abuja for the north-central zone and in Lagos State for the south-west zone.

“The training became necessary because 42 percent of the work done in NWAPDI is on safety and security. We discovered that our women farmers, processors, and traders lack the right knowledge and orientation regarding safety and security. The training today is targeted at the trainers. We have about 150 women here. The whole idea is that the Zonal and State Coordinators will take this training back to their wards and spread it, continually improving ourselves. The training is also ongoing in Lagos, for the south-west. We are working next on the south-south, south-east, north-east and north-west. It is high time we started paying more attention to training our farmers, food processors, and everyone in the agricultural sector on the importance of security and safety on our farms and in our processing plants,” Svensson explained.

In an interview with journalists, chief of staff to the Nigerian regional administrator of the Occupational Safety and Health Association, Harrison Ehimikhuai elaborated on the essence of the training. Ehimikhuai, one of the workshop facilitators, emphasised the need for women to understand the safe use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and other farm implements to prevent injuries and fatalities on farms and in processing plants.

The endorsement of NWAPDI by AFAN and the call for enhanced safety measures highlight the growing recognition of women’s vital role in agriculture and the need for their empowerment and protection within the sector.

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