In a significant move to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Ministry of Women Affairs is set to distribute 26,000 tonnes of high-yielding hybrid rice to rural women. This initiative aims to reduce the cost of rice, amplify food production, and bolster food security.
Mrs. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, the Minister of Women Affairs, revealed this development while briefing the press in anticipation of the upcoming 2023 International Day for Rural Women, observed annually on October 15.
“The ministry has received a generous donation of 26,000 tonnes of hybrid rice from a Chinese company,” she announced.
Kennedy-Ohanenye urged women to lend their support by providing farmers with essential tools. This, she explained, would alleviate the physical strain on rural women, enabling them to increase their agricultural yields.
Additionally, it was disclosed that First Lady Remi Tinubu will be providing mechanized farming tools valued at 151 million to rural women.
Mr. Mohammed Idris, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, emphasized the significance of the event, stating that it serves as a platform to highlight the vital role and contributions of rural women, including indigenous women, in advancing agriculture and rural development. Their efforts are instrumental in enhancing food security and eradicating rural poverty.
He underscored, “Worldwide, women are pivotal to the rural economy. They engage in crop cultivation, care for livestock, and provide essential resources like food, water, and fuel for their families. They also diversify their family’s livelihoods through various activities. Rural women are catalysts for economic, social, and environmental progress.”
Idris expressed empathy for the rural women and families affected by floods and armed conflicts in different parts of the country.
Ms. Beatrice Eyong, UN Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, reaffirmed the organization’s dedication to addressing challenges faced by women, particularly those in rural areas.
“We are actively working on digitally assisted Climate Smart Agriculture. Our aim is to tackle environmental issues, improve soil productivity, and ultimately boost production,” she stated.
Hajiya Lami Adamu-Lau, National President of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), urged the ministry to ensure the equitable distribution of resources to rural women.
As a notable suggestion, there is a call to designate October 15 as “World Rural Women’s Day.” This day, established by the General Assembly in 2007, acknowledges the crucial role of rural women, including indigenous women, in advancing agriculture, food security, and poverty eradication. This idea was first proposed by international NGOs at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.