‘Women Are Beginning to Have Access to Land’ – ATASP-1 Counts Gains, Costs

The Agricultural Transformation Support Programme – Phase 1 (ATASP-1) says women gaining more access to land is one of the major outcomes of its gender mainstreaming efforts under its commodity value chain component.

ATASP-1 is a programme developed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to contribute to food and nutrition security, employment generation and wealth creation across the rice, cassava and sorghum value chain.

The programme is being implemented in the four Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZS) of Adani-Omor, Bida-Badeggi, Kano-Jigawa and Kebbi-Sokoto, covering 33 Local Government Areas in seven states: Anambra, Enugu, Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto.

ATASP-1 focuses on three components of agriculture: infrastructure development, commodity value chain development and programme management.

In addition to enabling more women to get access to land, ATASP-1 through its gender inclusion goals under the commodity value chain development component has achieved more for gender mainstreaming.

National Gender and Social Development Specialist of ATASP-1, Benny Mordi-Onota, on Monday, listed some of them in a presentation at the Value Chain Commodity Development Programme (VCDP)/International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Workshop on Nigeria Agriculture Gender Network held at the Bolton White Hotel, Abuja.

According to Mordi-Onota, more women are also gaining access to inputs market information, appropriate farm implements as well as training on the use of the implements.

She explained, “The objective of mainstreaming gender into ATASP-1 is being met. Women now actively participate in both the upstream and downstream activities from less than 10% at baseline to 35% at MTR.

“Women are beginning to have access to land, inputs market information, appropriate farm implements as well as training on the use of the implements.

“Women occupy executive positions in innovation platforms and other mixed groups. This has enhanced their participation in the decision making process in the communities.

“Due to technology adoption in Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) and use of improved seeds, women and youths now experience an increase in productivity.

“Demonstrations are now being established on women’s plots and their participation in field days has improved significantly.”

Mordi-Onota further noted that skills and knowledge acquired by the beneficiaries from various interventions have manifested in increased productivity in rice, cassava and sorghum production.

These, she added, have also resulted in improved nutrition and health for them, enhancing their income by 20.5% and resulting in improvement in the overall standard of living.

“The value chain approach has opened up more income-generating opportunities e.g. some value-added products such as confectioneries, beverages, noodles, composite flour, high-quality cassava flour, popped sorghum etc. from the mandate crops (rice, sorghum, cassava) are being produced and marketed in the programmes implementing communities.

“Youths trained on seed production technology are producing and selling to off-takers and farmers in the communities,” she noted during the presentation.

‘Socio-cultural factors a problem’

Speaking further, Mordi-Onota noted that ATASP-1 has been able to organise capacity building on product diversification for women and young girls through the rice, sorghum and cassava value chains in the SCPZs.

The project has also helped to build the capacity of 15,788 beneficiaries (30% of whom were women) on agribusiness and entrepreneurship development.

Among others, the beneficiaries have also been trained on the use and maintenance of small-scale agro-processing equipment, postharvest handling and storage of sorghum products.

However, despite the progress, Mordi-Onota said ATASP-1 has recorded so far, she also identified a number of factors limiting impact.

These include the lack of seed money or starter packs and the limiting impact of socio-cultural and religious factors in the participation of women in some activities.

Also, the limited number of female extension staff is a problem, she added.

Among other solutions, she pointed out that for effective gender mainstreaming in development programs, there was the need for purposive targeting of women and female youths in programme activities.


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