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Gender Issues in Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria: The Role of Women

Publisher: Humanity & Social Sciences Journal 4 (1): 19-30, 2009
Author: Yemisi I. Ogunlela
Type: Report
Date: 2009
Keywords: Agriculture, Food security , Gender inequality, Household economy , Nigeria
Location in CRTDA: Available at
Most farmers in Nigeria operate at the subsistence, smallholder level in an extensive agricultural system; hence in their hands lies the country's food security and agricultural development. Particularly striking, however, is the fact that rural women, more than their male counterparts, take the lead in agricultural activities, making up to 60-80 percent of labour force. It is ironical that their contributions to agriculture and rural development are seldom noticed. Furthermore, they have either no or minimal part in the decision-making process regarding agricultural development. Gender inequality is therefore dominant in the sector and this constitutes a bottleneck to development, calling for a review of government policies on agriculture to all the elements that place rural women farmers at a disadvantage. The women-in-agriculture programme in Nigeria, which was established in cognizance of this and the shortcoming in extension services for women farmers, has been a huge success. Women's groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil societies have empowered and given rural women farmers a voice and effectively championed their cause. Women farmers now have better access to farm inputs and credits although many barriers remain and would have to be addressed to further enhance their role. Rural women farmers deserve better recognition and greater appreciation of their tangible contributions to agriculture and rural development and food security. Other aspects of gender issues in Nigerian agriculture are discussed.

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