Agric: FG to launch N1.6bn national women’s empowerment fund

women farmers

Efforts to diversify the economy may have received a boost as the Federal Govern­ment, yesterday announced a N1.6 billion national women’s empowerment fund.
The bailout to empower the female gender was an­nounced by President Mu­hammadu Buhari in his first anniversary speech to Nige­rians. The Sun Reports.
The President said the fund has become imperative, considering the increasing role that women are playing in revitalizing the agricultural sector coupled with the dif­ficulty in practicing modern farming.
Buhari said the N1.6 billion fund would serve as 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.
‘‘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.
The President said the economic misfortune the country is experiencing in the shape of very low oil prices has provided the nation with an opportunity to restructure its economy and diversify.
‘‘We are in the process of promoting agriculture, livestock, exploiting our solid mineral resources and ex­panding our industrial and manufacturing base. That way, we will import less and make the social investments necessary to allow us to pro­duce a large and skilled work­force.
“Meanwhile, the first steps along the path of self-sufficiency in rice, wheat and sugar – big users of our scarce foreign exchange – have been taken. The Labour Intensive Farming Enterprise will boost the economy and ensure inclusive growth in long ne­glected communities.
“Special intervention funds through the Bank of Agriculture will provide tar­geted support. Concerns remain about rising cost of foods such as maize, rice, mil­let, beans and garri. Farmers tell me that they are worried about the cost of fertilizers, pesticides and the absence of extension services. The feder­al and state governments are on the same page in tackling these hurdles in our efforts at increased food production and ultimately food security,’’ he maintained
And to provide fur­ther support, he disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) would offer more fiscal incentives for business that prove capable of manufacturing products that are internationally competi­tive, adding that his adminis­tration remained committed to reforming the regulatory framework for investors by improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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