Women in Agriculture in Nigeria — Part IV BY DR. IBRAHIM H. ALKALI

By exchange of agricultural products by barter among women especially and in particular, being analogous to the “trading by barter” of yester years, those among the women who farm different crops, either as individuals, family members, or community members, could exchange by barter with each other some of their different agricultural farm produce; or fisheries, poultry, goats, sheep, cattle, etc, that are at and of equal or equivalent value, among themselves. This is for their mutual benefits and ultimate continuous progressive food security among themselves and their respective families; and continuous improved economic empowerment.

Additionally, where a woman or her family has no enough money to buy other crops, apart from the one she farms and grows in her family farm, or otherwise, she could be allowed to benefit by way of exchange of the crops or farm animal she grows or rears respectively, with those grown or reared by other women. All these initiatives can come under the umbrella of the rejuvenated cooperative societies, associations, and groups.

The later aforementioned means of agricultural credit and loans for Nigerian women especially and in particular, has apparently not been seriously considered, explored, and pursued to it optimum level, in modern contemporary Nigeria, since with effect from the Nigerian independence in October 1960, up till now. This, however, was the case hitherto, during the pre-colonial days, being part and parcel of “trading by barter”.

The time is now apt, auspicious, and even “over-ripe” to enable and empower Nigerian women nationwide , especially in villages across the nation, to engage in and benefit immensely from such mutual loans, credits, and exchange of agricultural products, produce, items, and livestock, among themselves, even more than hitherto. This can be realized not only by way of personal and group contributions of money, loans, and credits; farm produce, and livestock to each other, both within and outside cooperative societies. Rather, they can also be realized in the form of such exchanges by barter, as individuals and family members, groups, communities, village and town groups; or as members of rejuvenated agricultural cooperative societies.

Beyond all these, the governments at all levels — federal, state, and local — as well as banks and financial institutions nationwide, need to necessarily provide much more interest-free loans, agricultural credits, and even grants, especially to the very hardworking and loyal Nigerian women in agriculture.

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