OBAJI ABUNG-AKPET, Calabar
Of the 4,994,491 metric tons of cassava that Cross River State is celebrated to contribute to Nigeria’s overall 40,000,000MT, females contribute 67.50 per cent against the males’ 32.5 per cent, Mrs. Folusho Olaniyan, a keynote address presenter at the The Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project information campaign in Calabar on Tuesday has said.
YouLead, an initiative of Cuso International, a Canadian not-for-profit organization advocating a green economy and gender equality in Nigeria held the event, which it tagged ‘YouLead information campaign’ with the aim of ‘promoting inclusive green entrepreneurship for sustainable growth,’ with the view that it will enhance adequate gender balance in the Nigerian agriculture value chain.
Olaniyan, who is founder of Contact Consulting in Lagos ,said apart from the reasonable contributions females make in the nation’s cassava industry and palm oil of 62 per cent against their male counterpart of 38 per cent per cent of the overall 86,950MT the state produces against the nation’s 4,500,000MT they, the female did poorly in other agriculture value chain namely rice, cocoa, aquaculture and poultry farming that Cross River is known for.
In the 69,421MT that the state contributes to Nigeria’s cocoa produce of 350,000MT, she said female in the state contributed a paucity of 10.28 per cent against the male who make a whooping contribution of 89.72 per cent.
Olaniyan did not provide figures of the state’s contribution to the nation’s 1,123,000MT it yields in aquaculture and 952,600MT in the poultry industry, but however cited female overall contribution to stand at 19 per cent as against male’s 81 per cent and 35.83 per cent as against males’ 64.17 per cent for the two agro-commodities respectively.
On rice, another Cross River’s well commended agro-mainstay of 97,100MT to Nigeria’s 350,000MT female rose at a margin of 43.9 per cent as against the male’s 56.1 per cent.
The keynote speaker posited that with the efforts made so far female should now be taken more seriously as fellow drivers of agriculture while urging Cross River State Government to continue to partner Cuso International in utilizing its outstanding potentials to attracting investors who will advance the economy of the state.
On her part, Dr. Uduak Daniel the executive director of Development Option represented by Ukeme Ekong, the NGO’s Programme Coordinator said that female visibility in the state’s agriculture has been a challenge.
She urged government and development partners to focus on providing technologies that will make agriculture process stress free as leeway to mitigating gender imbalance in the agro-sector.
Mr. Ebrima Sonko, country director of Cuso International it was due to the gender inequality that his organization called together all participators in the agriculture sector including traditional leaders for YouLead information campaign with the view that the trend can be reversed.
While Jerry Nwigwe, YouLead project’s team leader said by the year 2019 the project targets at training 12,000 youth in entrepreneurship, establish 4500 new businesses, expand 500 existing businesses and create 2000 jobs in the natural resources sector.
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