March 25, 2021 – Two PEP project teams in Nigeria held a joint national policy conference to share their recommendations for improving rural productivity, wellbeing and food security through women-focused policies.
The teams presented the findings and recommendations from their PEP studies to around 50 stakeholders, including representatives of Federal Ministries, National Agencies, civil society organisations, academia and the private sector. Particularly notable attendees included those from the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), and of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWA); Rural Electrification Agency (REA); National Centre for Women Development; National Assembly’s Budget and Research Office, and National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS); All Farmers Association; and Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture.
The first team to present explained how increasing women’s access to farm land can improve food security, productivity, and welfare in Nigeria. “We need a law to ensure women have access to land […] it will actually help to grow the economy and ensure food security,” said Dr. Emily Ikhide, the team leader (pictured, right). See PEP Policy Brief 229 for policy analysis and recommendations.
Representatives of the All Farmers Association and the Nigeria Women Agro-Allied Farmers Association supported the team’s recommendations, calling on the government to help women farmers.
The team’s recommendations were well-received by the representatives of various government agencies who agreed on the need to collaborate to support women farmers. In particular:
- The Head of the FMARD Gender Unit (pictured, bottom left) promised to look critically at the findings and into how her ministry can incorporate them into their policy formulation process.
- A representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Development Finance Unit, a unit responsible for the National Food Security Program (NFSP), promised to review the findings to see how to improve the NFSP.
- The Director of Special Duties at the NILDS, which provides policy support to the parliament, said the institute would serve as a knowledge broker to share the findings with the relevant committees in the National Assembly.
The second team to present showed how small-scale off-grid energy systems can be used to improve productivity by increasing women’s access to electricity in rural Nigeria. “It is important to diversify the portfolio of technologies to include ones that would be beneficial and affordable to women,” said Dr. Temilade Sesan (pictured, top left).
Dr. Opeyemi Akinyemi, the team leader, elaborated: “The key to progress lies in adopting a hybrid approach to rural electrification in which programs that explicitly aim to improve women’s domestic and agricultural productivity are implemented to mitigate the limitations of the current subsidy-enabled regime.” See PEP Policy Brief 230 for policy analysis and recommendations.
The keynote speakers agreed with the team’s recommendations. The Executive Director of the REA’s Rural Electrification Fund (the focus of the research) underlined the key role of rural electrification for enhancing the productivity and welfare of rural women. He stated that the REA’s Gender Desk would find the results useful as they provide insights for policy implementation. He also encouraged the other agencies at the event to support and collaborate with the local researchers as their findings are useful to all.
The Head of the FMARD Gender Unit underlined the need for women-targeted policies to ease the disadvantages that women face.
A number of attendees expressed the desire for the teams to collaborate with their institutions to support the implementation of the teams’ recommendations.
The project teams organized the conference with financial and advisory support from PEP.