IAR&T expresses readiness for UNESCO, POWA, WIA project

The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), has expressed readiness for the commencement of an agriculture project aimed at empowering women in agriculture.

Executive Director of the institute, Professor Veronica Obatolu, made this known while playing host to the wife of Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Mrs Elizabeth Egbetokun, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital recently.

Obatolu, while welcoming Egbetokun, who led other wives of other top police officers under the aegis of Police Officers Wives Association (POWA), noted: ”Recall that the Institute participated in the joint press briefing and signing of Mission Action plan with the theme: ‘Enhancing National Security through Women-In-Agriculture (WIA)’ alongside Police Officers Wives’ Association (POWA) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Read and Earn Federation (UNESCO REF) at the POWA National Secretariat, Abuja on the 26th July, 2023.

“This working visit is, however, a follow up to ascertain the readiness of the Institute in building capacity of young WIA Strategic Intervention Programme ALPHA (SIP- ALPHA) and attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 (No Hunger) in the country.

“There is no doubt that the hands of women shape the bounty that feed families and fuel the economy. Their role in the agricultural value chain transcends manual labour but it is dynamic and encompasses a range of skills and responsibilities.

“This is transformetional through processing, marketing, entrepreneurship, and social inclusion, leadership and policy advocacy that are crucial for not only food security and community development but also national security and economic sustainability.”

“I would like to express my profound appreciation to the collaborating agencies; POWA their delegates led by the POWA National President and Wife of Inspector-General of Police, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs. Elizabeth Egbetokun; and the UNESCO Read and Earn Federation (REF) representative, Prince Abdulsalami Ladigbolu for finding the Institute worthy of collaboration in achieving the objectives of the project.

“I look forward to a successful, smooth and hassle-free collaboration with POWA and UNESCO REF in enhancing national security by promoting agricultural enterprise among women with focus on Police officers wives.”

In her remarks, Mrs Egbetokun, commended IAR&T for its contribution to agricultural development in Nigeria over the years, while expressing optimism that the project to be embarked upon will be a highly productive one as it is expected to have positive impacts on Federal Government food security drive.

Also speaking, Global Director for UNESCO REF TAP Project, Prince Abdulsalami Ladigbolu, stated that: ”The launching of Young Women in Agriculture in Nigeria, an initiative of the Read and Earn Federation for UNESCO (UNESCO REF), under its Strategic Intervention Programme—ALPHA (SIP-ALPHA), is part of our commitment to contribute our quota towards actualising substantial attainment of the United Nations global goal before or by 2030 with emphasis on goal 2, which aims at achieving “zero hunger.

“You will agree with me that agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of crude oil. As such, from 1960 to 1969, the sector accounted for an average of 57 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generated 64.5 percent of export earnings.

“Recognising the key role women play in agriculture, the launching of Young Women in Agriculture in Nigeria could not have come at any better time than now when food insecurity has become a major issue in Nigeria. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that women make up 43 percent of the agricultural workforce globally.”

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