Members of the Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), have dramatically taken their hoes to a museum in order to make way for mechanised farming in the country.
The farmers on Tuesday took their hoes to the museum at the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Art and Culture in Abuja.
While speaking, the National President of SWOFON, Mary Afan, said the use of hoes in farms is no longer productive and sustainable.
“What we have come to do today is to retire these hoes to the museum knowing fully well that this is a place where artefacts are kept so that our children, grandchildren, the generation unborn will come and see it and know that this is what their parents were using to produce food,” she said.
“In the history of women farmers, this day stands significant for us that we have been planning to see this day to significantly retire the hoes to the museum.”
According to her, the number of those who depend on Nigerian farmers for food has increased, hence the need to mechanise the farms has become imperative.
“In farming, we have noticed that this hoe is what we are using to feed the nation, the population is increasing and we can no longer use this hoe to feed the nation,” she said.
“We suffer and sweat in the farm before we can produce a small portion of land per day, and with that, we feed ourselves and feed the nation.”
She urged the government to provide the women with mechanised farm implements as they have dropped their hoes so that they can return to their farms.
“We want the government to give us women-friendly equipment that will save our energy and time we spend on the farm.
“In that respect, we want to talk to our government, since we are the ones feeding the nation, we are retiring the hoes to the museum today, by tomorrow, we want mechanised implements,” she said.
The Director, Gender, at the Social Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA), Agnes Hart, while receiving the women farmers said “it is the duty of the government to provide an enabling environment for farmers to strive.
“The enabling environment includes the provision of fertiliser and machines for the women farmers to use in their farms.
“We no longer want to see these hoes in the hands of women.
“It makes us suffer, it makes us grow old, it makes us have a low yield in our farms,” she said.
According to her, the association has come a long way and this is the time for them to move forward.
“You have come a long way, you have laboured and it is time to move forward, and in moving forward, technology has made it easy for us.
It is for us as a government to create an enabling environment for you to strive,” she added.