The federal government, in collaboration with Green Agriculture West Africa Limited (GAWAL), a subsidiary of the Chinese General Construction Company (CGC), have embarked on an initiative to educate and empower 5,000 women in various states across the country. These women will be trained in modern rice techniques, as well as other methods of farming. The main objective behind this initiative, according to Barrister Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, is to combat poverty by ensuring food sufficiency and empowering females economically at the local level.
At the graduation ceremony of the two-day Rice Cultivation Technology Training Programme first phase project at the Abuja Industrial Park, the minister stated that her ministry is now implementing a unique approach, a Bottom-up approach, in its fight against poverty. GAWAL is providing the Nigerian women with a high-yield rice variety which they are directly cultivating on their farmland. These industrious women are fully equipped with a ministry-provided pump machine, empowering them to irrigate their farmlands and cultivate a bountiful rice harvest four times annually. This could also set Nigeria on course for food sufficiency.
Women across the nation will be empowered with the initiative.
She elaborated the significance of documenting every step of this initiative, as Nigerians have the entitlement to be informed about the ongoing happenings within the nation and should stay informed concerning the objectives of the Renewed Hope agenda. The initiative will span across the entire country, empowering women to engage in diverse economic endeavours. Barrister Kennedy-Ohanenye noted that poverty, brought about by idleness, serves as a driving force for 70 percent of the criminal activities and security problems in the country.
Nevertheless, this initiative guarantees the creation of employment opportunities, enabling individuals to generate their own income, she added. According to Kennedy-Ohanenye, a new platform has been established for this initiative, serving as a gateway for sellers, farmers, manufacturers, and all participants in the marketing process, even including bankers. The aim is to create a unified community in Nigeria, where we all share a common goal and purpose. Under the program, she elaborated on how the government is fostering innovation, particularly in the realm of animal husbandry, specifically focused on cow rearing.
Trained individuals urged to share their newly acquired knowledge.
In her words, the ministry is introducing groundbreaking practices involving animals, stocks, and cows, allowing our farmers to benefit from highly productive breeds. With this, the usual time frame required for cow rearing, which typically takes up to one and a half years before they are fit for consumption, will be astonishingly reduced to eight months. Mr. Wang Xiemin, the Managing Director GAWAL, has urged the trained individuals to share their newfound knowledge with their community members. By passing on this valuable knowledge, the aim is to empower all women farmers and other individuals until everyone is empowered, well-informed and capable.
Xiemin continued saying that as the training is concluded, the trainees carry with them not only newly acquired knowledge and a renewed sense of purpose, but also the weighty responsibility for the future of agriculture testing. He stressed that their commitment to innovation, ability to overcome challenges, and steadfast adherence to sustainable practices will be the driving forces shaping the agricultural landscape for generations to come. According to one of the beneficiaries Abubakar Fatima-Kure, from Niger state, this training has proven highly advantageous for participating women farmers, equipping them with essential knowledge about the utilization of contemporary farming tools, various pesticides, and fertilizers.
A steady progress towards attaining food self-sufficiency.
Fatima-Kure affirms that trainers will subsequently empower fellow women to comprehend the diverse tools necessary for various types of cultivation and agriculture. They will educate on the selection of appropriate equipment for different crops, the suitable pesticides to use, as well as instruct on the proper usage and timing of distinct fertilizers at specific stages. Land preparation, seed breeding, fertilizer application, and the diverse aspects of agriculture chains were all part of the comprehensive training provided to beneficiaries. By embarking on such an initiative, Nigeria is making steady progress towards attaining self-sufficiency in food production while simultaneously empowering women.