A Professor of Agricultural Extension, Prof. Justina Mgbada, called on relevant stakeholders to ensure the active involvement of women in the sustenance of agricultural value chain in the country.
Mgbada, a former Provost of the Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Ebonyi said this at the Enugu State University Science and Technology, Agbani while delivering the 30th inaugural lecture of the institution with the topic: “Repositioning Agriculture Through Extension: The Role of Women”.
She said the logistics sector of agricultural production such as the transportation of agricultural products, is dominated by men.
“Women are however supposed to be the ones integrated in such extension task as they were involved in the sale of packaged materials used for most crops and processed foods such as maize, garri, yam flakes among others.
“The processing landscape in agricultural value chain is mostly at the informal and small-scale level as women handle the bulk of the processing and this will enhance agricultural production in the country.
Mgbada noted that the formal processing level in contrast, has men owning established processing companies but for the sustenance of the processing value chain, women and children are vital,” she said.
“Men play the part of middlemen in the areas of marketing and trading of agricultural production but there are no middle women across the value chain.
“Women are less involved in wholesale but rather more active on the retail side and visible in open air markets and find it harder to enter into the markets due to limited education, funds and low social status.
The erudite professor said that women- farmers receive less than 10 per cent of the credit offered to small-scale farmers and are deterred from applying for formal loans because of complexities of the administrative process.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Luke Anike, welcomed guests to the occasion, stating that the topic of the inaugural lecture reflected the guest lecturer’s area of specialisation.