Nigerian Women Lead In Agriculture

Nigerian Women Lead In Agriculture

Thursday, February 12, 2015 12:26 pm


Emmanuel Osodi

Here is the pictorial story of Nigerian rural women in agriculture, especially in Ondo and Delta states

The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) recently gave a grant for a project to investigate and portray the lives of rural women in their daily pursuits in pictorial form. The project seeks to investigate the lives of rural women farmers and their challenges of combining farm work with motherhood in Nigeria, in particular, Ondo and Delta states.

Most farmers in Nigeria operate at the subsistence level. Notwithstanding this, their contributions are so extensive that the country’s food security and agricultural development lies in their hands. Most of these farmers happen to be rural women, yet development agencies have devoted very little resources to how research, new agricultural policies and modern techniques can have impacts on the well being of Nigerian women farmers.

Women make significant contribution to food production and processing, but men seem to take more of the farm decisions and control the productive resources. In Nigeria, women play a dominant role in agricultural production; their active participation in Nigeria’s agriculture sector is also not new.

In Ekuku-Agbor, Idumuesah and Ute Erumu town located in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, women are mostly involved in farming business. Forty six-year old Mrs. Christiana Onybie, a farmer in Ekuku-Agbor town with seven children, said since she lost her husband to malaria in 2013, she has been the only one taking care of her children with her local palm oil mill business.

• Christiana Onybie, mother of seven, lost her husband to a malaria infection and has been supporting her children through farming and  casual labour in a local oil palm mill.

• Christiana Onybie, mother of seven, lost her husband to a malaria infection and has been supporting her children through farming and casual labour in a local oil palm mill.

Another farmer, Mrs. Charity Ebuniwe, 30, said she assists her husband in the farm, like so many other women in the surrounding villages in Ekuku-Agbor town. “Most of us are farmers since there are no other jobs to do apart from farming,” she said.

•Eighty percent of women in Ekuku-Agbor town are farmers and,  in more ways than one, also traders, Says Charity Ebuniwa, 30, “my husband and I do oil palm farming together. He harvests them from the palm tree while I gather the bunches for processing.

•Eighty percent of women in Ekuku-Agbor town are farmers and, in more ways than one, also traders, Says Charity Ebuniwa, 30, “my husband and I do oil palm farming together. He harvests them from the palm tree while I gather the bunches for processing.

Production of cocoa and kolanut is also on the rise, especially in Ondo state. A visit to Odigbo Local Government Area in Ore tells the story of the hardship many women endure in their day-to-day endeavour to keep body and soul together. The processing of cocoa and kolanut for sale, export or onward transfer to urban areas for sale, involves mostly women, with only a handful of men Mrs. Mary David says cocoa farming in Ilutuntun camp in Odigbo Local Government Area, Ondo State, is a way of life and the business is the people’s main source of livelihood, as both men and women contribute to the process.

• Even with Nigeria’s dependence on only oil to run her economy, many more exports abound. Mrs. Mary David, mother of  six harvesting cocoa in her  plantation in  Ilutuntun camp in Odigbo Local Government Area, Ondo State.

• Even with Nigeria’s dependence on only oil to run her economy, many more exports abound. Mrs. Mary David, mother of six harvesting cocoa in her plantation in Ilutuntun camp in Odigbo Local Government Area, Ondo State.

The contribution made by rural women to agriculture and rural development in Nigeria is grossly under-appreciated in spite of the dominant role women play in the sector. Many Nigerians are aware, though few will agree, that woman work as hard as men in many of the households in rural areas in their contribution to the household economy and food security.

They therefore deserve to be given due recognition as far as decision-making process in agriculture is concerned.

• Funmi Toluwalase, breastfeeds her toddler, Femi while Ayo (left) and Tope  wait for their father at 7:33 pm,  Mr. Kayode Toluwalase, to carry their harvest home on his motorcycle (the mother and sons will follow on foot) after the day’s job in the farm at Ajose camp near Ore  in Ondo State.

• Funmi Toluwalase, breastfeeds her toddler, Femi while Ayo (left) and Tope wait for their father at 7:33 pm, Mr. Kayode Toluwalase, to carry their harvest home on his motorcycle (the mother and sons will follow on foot) after the day’s job in the farm at Ajose camp near Ore in Ondo State.

• Twenty-three-year-old Bidemi Kehinde,strapps  her baby to her back while working in an oil palm mill in Ajose Camp, Ondo State, Nigeria.

• Twenty-three-year-old Bidemi Kehinde,strapps her baby to her back while working in an oil palm mill in Ajose Camp, Ondo State, Nigeria.

• These women, young, middle aged and some in their 60s,  combine both farm work and production of oil palm in an oil mill belonging to Mr. Kayode Toluwalase at Ajose Camp near Ore town in Ondo State, Nigeria.

• These women, young, middle aged and some in their 60s, combine both farm work and production of oil palm in an oil mill belonging to Mr. Kayode Toluwalase at Ajose Camp near Ore town in Ondo State, Nigeria.

• Esther Ijeabo, 54, frying gari, a staple eaten in southern Nigeria, at the back of her house in Ute Erumu town in Agbor, Delta State, Esther has been in the business since she was a young teenager .

• Esther Ijeabo, 54, frying gari, a staple eaten in southern Nigeria, at the back of her house in Ute Erumu town in Agbor, Delta State, Esther has been in the business since she was a young teenager .

• The production line is not quite long but these women do so much for so long that they go home everyday, tired; and of course they age very fast due to many factors.

• The production line is not quite long but these women do so much for so long that they go home everyday, tired; and of course they age very fast due to many factors.

• After many years of back-breaking  farm work, Mrs Maria Omebiye, 60, with little or no healthcare delivery system by the government, is currently suffering from waist pain and arthritis.

• After many years of back-breaking farm work, Mrs Maria Omebiye, 60, with little or no healthcare delivery system by the government, is currently suffering from waist pain and arthritis.

• Roseline Gabriel (right) and her colleague in Ilutuntun camp Odigbo Local government area in Ondo State prepare kolanuts for sale in the big market in Ore. The work is often tedious and monotonous, but with very little profit.

• Roseline Gabriel (right) and her colleague in Ilutuntun camp Odigbo Local government area in Ondo State prepare kolanuts for sale in the big market in Ore. The work is often tedious and monotonous, but with very little profit.

• Mrs. Veronica Atuye (left) with her two daughters, Patricia (right) and Chikwadi peal cassaver tubes they havested from their farm in Agbor town, Delta state.

• Mrs. Veronica Atuye (left) with her two daughters, Patricia (right) and Chikwadi peal cassaver tubes they havested from their farm in Agbor town, Delta state.

• Evelin Michael taking out the  boiled oil palm friuts from the fire to be processed into palm oil, usually manually, and always by women.

• Evelin Michael taking out the boiled oil palm friuts from the fire to be processed into palm oil, usually manually, and always by women.

• At this local  palm oil processing mill, farmers boil, ferment and press the palm fruits to extract the palm oil that is poured into drums and taken to the big markets in town. Sometimes, the buyers come to book and pick up their drums of palmoil when business is good, though this not usual.

• At this local palm oil processing mill, farmers boil, ferment and press the palm fruits to extract the palm oil that is poured into drums and taken to the big markets in town. Sometimes, the buyers come to book and pick up their drums of palmoil when business is good, though this not usual.


Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.