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HomeNewsKaduna State Gender Policy In Agriculture: The Approval Is Long Overdue

Kaduna State Gender Policy In Agriculture: The Approval Is Long Overdue

By Yusuf Ishaku Goje

This is a passionate appeal to Governor Uba Sani to approve and accelerate the implementation of the Gender Policy in Agriculture. No doubt, the contribution of agriculture to the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – 36.7%, workforce – 42.4%, household income and consumption has been evidently established. Notwithstanding the huge barriers being faced by women, and other vulnerable groups, they continue to play critical roles in giving Kaduna State comparative advantage in crops such as maize, ginger, among others.

Disturbingly, all efforts to get the Gender Policy in Agriculture approved, almost a year in office of the current administration, has been unsuccessful. This is despite having a budget line item in the 2024 approved capital budget of the Ministry of Agriculture – production of 4Nos. policy documents, which includes the gender policy in agriculture, with an allocation of N6 million. Equally, there are other gender-specific budget allocations targeting especially women and youths. A noticeable departure from the immediate past budgets. What is now missing is an approved gender policy framework to back it up.

The rainy season is upon us and the government has commenced some agriculture interventions without such an important policy being approved to guide designing, planning, implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation. This is one policy that will be central to the success of the Agriculture Transformation Plan of the Governor as captured in his SUSTAIN manifesto. As well as demonstrate the commitment of his administration to the state of emergency declared on food security by the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

AGRA Gender Consortium led by Legal Awareness for Nigeria Women (LAWN) in collaboration with the State Ministry of Agriculture had developed the policy, which was validated by stakeholders since March of 2023. It was supported by German Cooperation, KFW, The Rockefeller Foundation, UKAid and USAID. This very important policy, when approved, seeks to bridge the gender gap evident in the State Agriculture Policy and the sector as a whole. Thereby, adopting a gender sensitive and responsive approach in planning, programming, budgeting and service delivery.

Particularly, towards ensuring there are clearly defined gender roles, mainstreaming of gender issues, prioritizing data disaggregation, enabling equitable budgeting and targeted spending using affirmative quota. The gender policy was built on the foundation of development and sector specific plans and policies, both national and sub-national, in line with international conventions. It has six broad objectives with twenty one strategic measures, four guiding principles, as well as an implementation framework, resource mobilization, funding mechanism, monitoring and evaluation and review components.

In the past eight years, the policy of surrendering agriculture investments to the private sector and donor partners had resulted in poor public investments in the sector. Commendably, the current administration has allocated about N23.4 billion to the agriculture sector, about 1200% increase from last year’s revised allocation of N1.8 billion – with N1.3 billion actual release and only a meager N625.1 million released for capital expenditure in a State with about 1.3 million farming households cultivating 2 million hectares. However, without the approval of the gender policy in agriculture to ensure no one is left behind, achieving value for money is not guaranteed despite the increased allocation.

Now that we have an administration that seems to understand that agriculture is not just a business but holds immense potential for enabling poverty reduction and rural transformation, the long overdue approval of the gender policy by the Governor is highly anticipated. There are ongoing efforts by the AGRA Gender Consortium to make a presentation of the proposed policy to the Governor. No doubt, for a Governor who is action-oriented, gender-friendly and passionate about rural transformation, the expectation is high that he will speedily approve the policy for timely and result-based implementation.

All eyes are on the Governor!

Lets engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.

Goje is an active citizen, civil society member and OGP enthusiast in Kaduna State

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