“The real cause of hunger is the powerlessness of the poor to gain access to the resources they need to feed themselves” Author Frances Moore Lappé. In a country blessed with an abundance of natural resources a tendency to overlook some is so high; the discovery of Oil in Oloibiri in 1956 became a curse and a blessing. Everyone has pushed every other thing to the back seat including Agriculture hence the constant bloodshed in the Niger Delta.
Oxfam an international confederation of 17 organisations networked together in 94 countries is committed to ridding the world of poverty. In Nigeria they are primarily focused on agriculture support, promoting food security and supporting small scale farmers to improve the livelihoods of men and women in rural areas. This drive led to the FEMALE FOOD HERO AWARD.
The overall objective:-
- Shift public and decision maker ideas and beliefs through reaching them with a creative public communication tool aimed at giving small scale women food producers a platform to speak for themselves.
- Public campaign tool through media engagement and social media platform as a means of creating public awareness on small scale women food producers and encourage investment.
- Create an opportunity to raise voices and concerns of such women as role models and change agents that inspire and empower other rural women and the public.
- Create an avenue to build the skills of the award winners as women advocates speaking on international and local forums. This is achieved through the capacity building training organised for nominees on Entrepreneurial Skills, Media engagement and gender sensitive trainings, Public speaking and oratory skills.
This has already been done in Tanzania and had a massive success rate. The award was Mama Shujaa Wa Chakula (Swahili phrase for Mother Female Food Hero). It was televised live on TV by Maisha Plus; a youth focused reality TV show which gave the rural women the opportunity to speak to the public and decision makers themselves.
FFH Award was organised in Nigeria in 2001 with Mrs Susan Godwin emerging as a winner. She was invited by Microsoft to give a talk on her experience, travelled to America and visited 4 states to interact with other farmers. This year Oxfam is putting together another award which will be a lot bigger than the previous one.
Below are the details: –
The launch of the nomination is on the 7th of March in collaboration with Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Criteria for participating: – Small Scale farmer, Success Story of Overcoming Challenges, Woman or Youth. Nominations are 450 per state, 1800 per zone and a total National Nomination of 10,800. Nomination starts on March 8th – May 30th 2014. Final collation would be sent to the secretariat of Association of Small-Scale Agro-Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN) FCT by June 2nd 2014.
They would be collaborating with the:
- Ministry of Agriculture regional offices at the state level
- ASSAPIN member state offices.
- Ministry of Women affairs and Social development.
Nomination forms would be distributed to FFH Zonal Distribution centres:-
South East: Abia, Enugu, Imo, Anambra
South South: Edo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross River
South West: Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Ondo
North Central: Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa, Kwara, FCT
North EAST: Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba
North WEST: Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto
The FFH Award is put together primarily for women for the following reasons:
- Women farmers contribute up to 50% of labour on farms, producing about 60 – 70% of food in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Women do not have the same access, credit or inputs as men and own only 1% of land
- A study found that women received only 10% of the credit for smallholder farmers.
- Women constitute about 60% of poor people and majority are smallholder farmers.
At the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”: allocation of 10% of the national budget to agriculture development. Nigeria is yet to fulfil her commitment. Nigerian artists 2face Idibia, Lami Philips, Sound Sultan and Titi Lokei who are brand ambassadors of Oxfam Nigeria produced a song “Where is my 10% as a reminder to African Leaders on their commitment.
We need to pass on the legacies of our rich farming heritage to the younger generation and shift the negative impression of farming. Spread the word; let the nominations start rolling in.