Small-scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) kicked off the Voices of SWOFON on Malabo Declaration project across four states in Nigeria namely; Enugu, Cross River, Kaduna and Plateau state respectively to demand government action on its commitment to the Malabo Declaration. The project amongst other things is targeted at raising the voice of smallholder women farmers to ensure actual dedication through actions, policies and programmes that are clearly spelt in budgetary allocation to accelerate Agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods and a firm declaration on nutrition security for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development in Africa.
Two facilitators from ActionAid in person of Constance Okeke and Azubike Nwokoye provided technical assistance and support the SWOFON during the project.
First stop was Cross River state where thirty-one (31) rural women farmers from across the state assembled at Monty Hotel, Calabar acquire Capacity Building Training on the Synthesis of Malabo Declaration on African Agriculture and Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme CAADP, with skills in Advocacy, Communication, Networking and Coalition all geared towards achieving the set goals and objectives of the project.
In Calabar, the avid women farmers having acquired knowledge were eager to start advocating for inclusive participation in the value chain process, engage with duty bearers and be active stakeholder in agriculture policies and budget process.
Enugu was no different as SWOFON staff and Technical Support team from ActionAid witnessed same turn out of smallholder women farmers to add their voice to getting government commitments in improving farming outputs and the better earnings to meet their needs.
The next stop was Jos the Plateau state capital where thirty women also gathered at Silk Suites to be taught the simplified version of the Malabo Declaration and acquired skills on advocacy, communication and networking. SWOFON and Policy Makers interactive session gave the women farmers the opportunity to not just speak up but get commitment that will be followed till they are implemented. The women were able to also get Green Sahara an Agriculture development company to be Off-taker for the platform.
However in Kaduna where we had an impressive number of women farmers from far and near across the state amassed at Epitome Hotel Kaduna for the capacity building training workshop, representative of government agencies failed to show up but a few. The duty bearers’ engagement with the women though without commitment, the women resolve to take the next step action plan towards improving the value chain.
The success of the Fora in all four states saw government commitments to provide timely available and subsidize inputs to include Palm Seedlings, Cassava cuttings etc. construction of dams and access to affordable pumping machine at Ten thousand Naira ( N10,000) to boost dry season farming, cleared farm lands and accessible road for easy transportation to the markets. Also the government of Cross River promised to consider SWOFON to take over the operation of non-functioning Rice mills in the state.
Below are more glimpses of the event!