The Federal Government has inaugurated the National Gender Steering Committee for the Implementation of Gender Policy in the Agricultural sector. The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe while inaugurating the Committee today in the ministry’s conference room, stated that the initiative would promote and ensure the adoption of gender-sensitive responsive approaches, plans and programmes in such a way that men and women will have equal access and control of productive resources.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe said that the availability of the policy document is expected to address the vulnerability of women to biases in the Agriculture sector, integrate gender perspectives in National Planning, create more jobs for women and financial empowerment. He pointed out that “the Ministry is committed to mainstreaming of gender issues in the Agricultural sector to achieve food security, eradicate poverty and hunger in Nigeria’’. Umakhihe explained that the “National Gender policy in Agriculture is consistent with the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by World Leaders at the United Nations Summit in New York, the United States in September 2015 which underscores the vital role Agriculture plays in Sustainable Development and its importance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating poverty (SGG-1), ending hunger, achieving food Security,(SDG-2), ensuring healthy lives (SDG-3) and enhancing the empowerment of All Women and Girls (SDG-5); to bridge the gender gap and enhance food Security’’.

He informed that ‘’ the Agricultural sector has been repositioned as a business through the value chain development and as an alternative to crude oil, therefore efforts should be geared towards the implementation of policies and programmes for the realization of this Government’s initiatives and programmes’’. He charged ‘’ the committee members to accomplish the onerous responsibility assigned to them to ensure full implementation of the 11(elective) objectives of this policy document for positive outcome’’.

In her welcome address, Director, Special Duties in the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal, stated that the policy document is a developmental strategy for poverty reduction and it is expected to empower small scale holder farmers who are predominately women. According to her ‘’ women, small scale holder farmers constitute about 70-80 percent of the Agriculture labour force and they produced the bulk of food for domestic consumption’’. In her remarks, the Country Director, Action Aid, Ene Obi, lauded ‘’ the Ministry for deeming it fit to inaugurate the National Gender Steering Committee and ensuring that relevant stakeholders are members of the committee’’ .Obi further stated that the implementation of a Gender policy has been an issue with government policies and therefore commended the ministry’s efforts in identifying the Gender gaps in agriculture through the document She solicited for the inclusion of Executives of the Smallholder Farmers into the Committee and pledged the continuous support of Action Aid towards implementation of the policy.In his vote of thanks, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Azubuike Nwokoye, thanked the management of the Ministry for giving them the opportunity to serve and promised that the committee will deliver on their mandate.