N1.6 billion National Women’s Empowerment Fund will boost agriculture

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President Mohammadu Buhari has announced a 1.6 billion Naira National Women’s Empowerment fund to empower the female gender. This is among the Federal Government effort at diversifying the economy and giving agriculture a boost.

The role women play in agriculture cannot be over emphasized, even in the midst of growing difficulty and challenges in practicing modern farming, alongside the absence of basic infrastructure and resources to support farming activities, women participation still continue to rise not just in farming but also in other rural economic activities.

This fund will help in stabilizing the economies of the rural communities via provision of micro-credit and small loans to women across the country with importance given to areas impacted by insurgency.

‘‘I would like to take this opportunity to express my ap­preciation for the increasing role that our women are play­ing in revitalizing the agricul­tural sector. Modern farming is still hard and heavy work. I salute our Nigerian women in sharing this burden.

“In this respect, I am very pleased to announce that the government will shortly be launching the national wom­en’s empowerment fund, which I have approved to pro­vide N1.6 billion in micro-fi­nance loans to women across the nation to assist in rehabili­tating the economies of rural communities, particularly those impacted by the insur­gency and conflict,’’ he said.

Dwindling oil prices has impacted the economy upon the continuous neglect of other sectors that can contribute to the GDP of the nation. The President placed emphasis on the importance of diversifying the economy by expanding industrial and manufacturing base alongside promoting agriculture, livestock and solid mineral exploitation.

A continuous increase in cost of food such as Maize, beans which is caused by a number of factors not limited to increased cost of fertilizer, pesticides, infestation of pest and diseases and the absence of quality extension services still pose a major concern. The President also added that Special intervention funds through the Bank of Agriculture will be available to provide targeted support.

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