Significant Role Of Rural Women In Agriculture
Over the years in Nigeria rural women have established defined roles in agriculture; they are involved in agricultural production, process and utilization. They are affected by social-economic factors that hinder the advancement of agriculture and poverty alleviation; these factors include education, access to social infrastructures, and daily income.
Lack of specific policies that do not support and protect the rural women give rise to high levels of poverty, illiteracy and non-involvement in the design and planning of programs and policies, therefore policies and services designed to women in the value chains should be developed.
Despite the important roles they play in agricultural economies, rural women are the most visible to face poverty even when livelihoods and self-sustenance in rural areas are guaranteed as a result of their great efforts in agricultural production.
However, they have to cover other needs, such as health care, paying for the education of their children or the acquisition of other products and goods which are necessary on a day-to-day basis since they have a limited financial capacity.
As today government pays more attention to the agricultural sector than before, more investments are needed. Agriculture is the main alternative for Rural Women, and it should come with better access to land and resources that guarantees increase in food production.
Realizing the importance of rural women in agriculture is an important aspect of gender relations. In many countries, the role of women in agriculture is considered just to be a “support” and not an important economic contribution to agricultural production.
However, this is not sufficient to meet future needs. Fighting hunger and malnutrition are some of the measures which should be taken to guarantee higher income and better living conditions for the most vulnerable communities, which are mostly formed by rural women who practice small-scale agriculture.
A joint effort must be undertaken to create favorable conditions in agricultural areas, including the reinforcement of good road networks for the transportation of produce from production areas where rural women work, as well as the processing and commercialization of such products.
There is a need to drop policies which are less favorable to rural women, focusing on the appreciation of their role as producers of wealth and strengthening the network of public services in rural areas, including health, education, and welfare services.
The training of rural women is very important, especially with the adoption of modern agricultural techniques that are tailored to local conditions and that use natural resources in a sustainable manner, with a view to achieving economic development without degrading the environment.
Rural women should not only be treated simply as beneficiaries but should be viewed as experts who possess knowledge. Participation in policies that benefit rural women can ensure truthful answers being given to this vulnerable group, since membership empowers disadvantaged individuals and is a vital step towards poverty alleviation.
It is extremely important to recognize the role that rural women play and the contribution that they make in networks and cooperatives, financial support and involving them in the training and conducting of development programs that enhance women’s role in agricultural production.