Women in Agriculture in Nigeria BY DR. IBRAHIM H. ALKALI

The complementary and supplementary role, relevance, and importance of women and their great contributions to agriculture and agricultural activities in Nigeria can and should however, be significantly improved upon.

Significant improvement of the important role of women in agriculture in Nigeria should include the need to go back to, and even surpass the membership of cooperative societies by women decades ago.

Women especially, also need to benefit even more from “soft” loans or even preferably, 0% interest-free loans from governments, institutions, banks, and other relevant financial institutions.

There is also the need to enhance and better organize women as members of rejuvenated cooperative societies nationwide. Women in agriculture especially, also need to additionally make continuous contributions of money among themselves as individuals and fellow members of groups within and outside cooperative societies, for their own mutual benefits. More so, as more often than not, the funds available or provided through loans or even grants of whatever nature by governments, banks, and other financial institutions, are either hardly available or grossly insufficient for the Nigerian population as a whole, and women in agriculture in particular. This is necessary for the overall prosperity of women in particular, and the nation as a whole in general.

Other ways for women in Nigeria to mutually benefit from agricultural activities could and should also be considered and explored. These include among other things, the exchange of agricultural crops, produce, and products — inclusive of fisheries, poultry, and livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, etc, — among themselves and their respective families and neighbours, more or less by barter. This, of course, used to be the case hundreds to thousands of years ago, when trading by barter was traditionally and conventionally used by both men and women, in all cultures, tribes, and parts of Nigeria. Such trade or means of exchange of goods, produce, and livestock by barter, was in fact recognized and acknowledged as a legal tender form of purchase, without the need to use paper money, as we know it today, as the current form of legal tender. There is nothing wrong with going back to the way things were long ago, in terms of trading and purchase of agricultural goods, produce, and products by women, and indeed men too. Especially so, as this would be only one of the many other forms of purchase of such agricultural products, for the purpose of diversification and enriching of the ways and means of purchase of agricultural products in particular, by women especially.

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