gender considerations for mitigation strategies

Women in Nigeria are more involved in
informal than formal entrepreneurship. This is
largely due to low level of literacy, lack of
access to macro credit, difficulties in
establishing a formal enterprise that requires
the formation of a limited Liability company,
and difficulty in producing products that meet
international standards.
The roles and activities of women in
Agriculture are of extreme improtance in the
following ways:
Women constitutes about 65% of about 80% of
farmers domiciled in the rural areas
They derive their livelihood from agriculture.
The fact that they eat what they produce
expose them more to the incidences of
mycotoxin infection.
They are involved in the production of a
variety of agricultural commodities including
crops, livestock, fisheries.
They are involved in the entire value chain vis
production, storage, processing, marketing and
Women promote food security,and nutrition in
our communities, earn extra money to educate
their children and to meet other socio economic
needs through agricultural activities.
There are however religious and cultural biases
between the regions about the extent of the
freedom and access for women. The women in
the Southern part of the country especially
Lagos and Cross River States (fish) have better
access to retail and whole sale markets as
traders and business women.
The major constraints to women generally and in
agriculture are in the following areas:
Finance: Capital funding has been the main constraint
because of the prevailing lending structure whereby
collateral is required in the form of Certificate of
Occupancy which means land ownership. Women also
do not have easy access to micro finance because it is
often not possible for women to guarantee such credits.
Funding is usually from personal savings, family
income, contributions (ajo or esusu in local language),
loans from friends and family which amount to very
little. The greater percentage of women cannot
purchase large volumes of goods and are therefore not
wholesalers. They are usually sub distributors
(attachments) who sometimes have to buy on credit
which reduces their profit margins. There are few
women wholesalers who are able to access capital
funds because of inheritance, support from their
husbands and family or who pull resources together on
individual basis or as members of a cooperative society
or group.
Access to credit supply:Input suppliers do not sell to women on
credit, however they sell to cocoa farmers who are men, this is
because they cannot monitor the harvest of other agricultural
Lack of access to appropriate institutional infrastructure: The
most important of these are energy (electricity), good roads and
marketing structure. Most agricultural produce are perishable and
without the appropriate storage facilities, there is increase in post
harvest losses especially during retail marketing. Most women
also are not able to own or rent marketing structures such as
shops, market stalls ,kiosks, and in the case of fish and fish
products, cold storage facilities and refrigerated display cabinets
which otherwise would enhance their trade. The problem is
further compounded by the fact that they have to move their
commodities from place to place which exposes the commodities
to the changes in weather. There are quality issues with fast
deteriorating products because of the varying weather conditions.
The women do not process their products in the appropraite way.
Drying is sometimes done on road hangers and on bare floor
where they are exposed to feacal wastes of passing animals, dust
and at times rain. Goods are also displayed by roadside or makeshift selling points within markets, because the women lack the
ability to own proper stoarge facilities.There are also quality
issues with transportation of agricultural produces.
Markets: There are very few commodity markets
or community centres. This poses a challenge to
the women as it makes communal trading,
whereby resources can be pulled together for
shared facilities, very difficult and impractical.
Knowledge gap: Lack of training in commodity
handling, packaging and preservation.
Gender justice: In most family situations, once the
woman is involved in any form of trade, all the
family responsibilities are left on her to shoulder.
The support from the man stops or reduces. The
financial pressure and burden reduce the woman’s
emotional capacity for effective management of
her trade especially where the financial
commitments are related to the health or education
of members of the family.
Problems of droughts, pest stress, moisture /rainfall
during harvest, fungus during harvest
Current level of knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices
(GAP) amongst women/ cooperatives .
Support from government to women farmers to procure
needed equipment (pesticides, wooden pallets, field
implements, storage bags and facilities etc.) to implement
GAP including good post-harvest handling practices.
Aflatoxin awareness: No monitoring for moisture content
or aflatoxins, there are no equipment for such tests.
Good Market Facilities: Lack of support for good
marketing structures(transportation,storage,and hygiene)
that will minimise contamination,
Capacity development: Improved Extension
Service and Awareness; Training in planting,
processing, packaging and marketing,
elementary (basic) financial management;
Distribution of simple testing kits .
Development of packages for improved
access to funds
Establishment of markets with appropriate
infrastructures and sanitation.
Provision of farm/marketing inputs.
Having identified the various constraints
militating against the empowerment of women to
become active participants in the SME and MME
sectors of the agricultural sector a definite plan of
action/intervention will improve their
contributions to the sector.
Most women in Nigeria involved in the
production, handling and trading of agricultural
commodities are very hard working. Given the
neccessary sensitisation and training,these women
will easily adjust and contribute their quota to
minimse the impact of aflatoxin.In so doing they
will improve their income and general welfare.