Women are at the center of Propcom Mai-karfi’s work on agricultural and rural markets development in northern Nigeria. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Women in the changing world of work, 50:50 by 2030’, is of particular relevance for us as a programme. It touches on a key component of the change that we try to bring about, which is getting women involved in markets either as producers or consumers, so that they are able to earn better incomes and have greater decision-making capacity.
The women who we work within northern Nigeria face a complex mix of challenges in an effort to earn money, in addition to the burdens of taking care of the household. These challenges, especially that of time, make it difficult for them to maximize the returns they get from being productive, within and outside of the home.
In response to these challenges, we try to find innovate ways to ease women’s burden and make them more efficient and productive so that they can earn more money from their work. For example, we are supporting women in the region to become entrepreneurs, such that they can diversify their income base. We are supporting enterprising women to develop fertiliser retailing businesses, as well as to become village inoculators to treat a common disease, Newcastle disease, which is prevalent among household poultry. Furthermore, we are building the capacity of rural women to invest in their household poultry so that they can become integrated into a more profitable supply chain which meets the needs of urban consumers. We are also helping female paravets to expand their businesses through training and provision of veterinary services to farmers who are interested in feed finishing their animals.
In some of our interventions, we also try to find solutions that would ease women’s labor burden and free up their time for other productive work. For example, our acha women farmers are enjoying the benefit of a mechanized processing machine, through Propcom Mai-karfi’s partnership with a private sector partner, Pye Ryat International Foods. Women who utilize this machine save a lot of time and energy in the processing of acha, which can then be utilized for other activities or domestic responsibilities. Similarly, our women cooperatives who have been able to access power tillers through a private vendor are able to prepare and till their lands in a shorter space of time, thus increasing the efficiency of their farm activities.
This is just a snapshot of some of the ways in which we work to impact on women’s lives in northern Nigeria. Our goal is to reach 250,000 women by 2018, and we are working hard and fast towards this.
Happy international women’s day from all of us at Propcom Mai-karfi.