LAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged its commitment to empowering women involved in the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
This follows the office of the Special Envoy on Gender (SEOG) and the Department for Agriculture and Agro-industry (OSAN) of the bank commissioning a report, “Economic Empowerment of African Women through
Equitable Participation in Agricultural Value Chains.”
The study identifies opportunities for women in four subsectors including cocoa, coffee, cotton and cassava sectors in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, respectively.
According to the report, Nigeria represents Africa’s top producer of cassava with 53 million tons in 2013 – about 20 percent of global cassava (approximately US$ 16 billion in value).
However, the country only exported $ 1 million worth of the staple.
The global production of cassava was valued at $ 51 billion in 2013 – the highest production value ($ 35 billion) of the four sub-sectors featured in the report, but signifying the lowest export value (approximately $ 1-2 million).
“Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world, but that doesn’t mean anything if we don’t lift women out of poverty. I want us to be the largest processor of cassava in the world as well, and this can be done by adding value to our products and moving women up the value chain,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of AfDB.
AfDB’s Country Director for Nigeria, Ousmane Dore, called on partners to act on the findings.
“Our objective for commissioning the study was for the African Development Bank to play a decisive role in contributing to the economic empowerment of African women in agriculture. This event is a call for all our esteemed
stakeholders to join forces in a discussion on to how to take this work forward,” Dore said.
There are about 6 million smallholder cassava farmers in Nigeria. Women account for a quarter of these smallholders. They earn only 17 percent of their male counterparts’ income because their productivity is lower than
that of men.
– CAJ News