Empowering Nigerian Women in Farm Tractor Operations
Source: This Day
An integrated agricultural firm, Alluvial, in partnership with Mastercard Foundation has established the Tractor Operations Training Activity to empower 50 young women in Nigeria in farm tractor operations, writes Rebecca Ejifoma
Last year, Nigeria was rated 128th out of 153 countries globally and 27th out of 53 countries in Africa on the World Bank’s Global Gender Gap Index. Also, it revealed that Nigerian women account for 41 per cent ownership of small businesses in the country with 23 million female entrepreneurs operating micro-businesses. However, these businesses operate mostly on survival mode and an after-thought if their attempts to secure a formal job is futile. Thanks to this, Nigeria has one of the highest entrepreneurship rates globally.
Consequently, Alluvial and Mastercard Foundation powered the Tractor Operations Training Activity under the Alluvial Community Block Farming to up-skill these young women and enable them thrive as entrepreneurs. Its initiative is also in line with the Young Africa Works strategy of Mastercard Foundation to deliver dignified and fulfilling jobs for 10 million young Nigerians – 70 per cent of which are women – by 2030, with a focus on agriculture, digital and creative economies.
Interestingly, Young Africa Works, which is Mastercard Foundation’s strategy, is focused on addressing youth unemployment and the poverty challenge in Africa. Its strategy is to secure dignified and fulfilling jobs for 30 million young people in Africa, particularly women. This strategy is premised on the fact that securing employment is the way out of poverty and youth employment is an assured path to lift Africa out of dearth.
Indeed, women are described as indispensable in the fight against poverty. This, the duo explained, is because an empowered woman makes a capacitated family. And because the family represents the smallest unit of society, the family gains the most when a woman is educated and equipped. Thus, both Alluvial and MasterCard Foundation are certain that such a woman will also groom enlightened children who will grow into responsible and independent adults to contribute positively to the society.
Today, this project, which will train young women to operate and run a business out of tractor operations is termed an inclusion into a male dominated field. “This is a deliberate move and is part of the vision of Alluvial Agriculture to empower and impact two million farmers across Africa over the next five years,” the organisations highlighted.
According to the ESG and Commercial Manager, Alluvial Agriculture, Naona Usoroh, the training programme aims to reduce the gender gap in terms of economic enablement. “The training, which will fully sponsor 50 women, will equip these women with the skills and tools to successfully manage a tractor operations business.”
She also outlined that applications for this programme are opened to young women aged 18 to 35 years who are resident in Nigeria, adding that participants are expected to undergo a three-week boot camp and those who completed the training were presented with a certificate of completion.
The ESG further acknowledged that Alluvial Agriculture pushes to solve Africa’s food challenge through community block farming techniques. With presence across African countries, Alluvial Agriculture is said to provide support to small-scale farmers in the form of training, technology, land preparation, irrigation, input supplies and market access. This is why the need for tractor training operations has become paramount.
Listing benefits of the training, Usoroh said beneficiaries would be able to access post-training work opportunities on any of Alluvial’s various community block farms where mechanisation services are required.
She added: “It is interventions like the Tractor Operations Training Activity put together by corporate organisations that will create platforms for the inclusion of women into economically empowering fields,” while emphasising that this would help grow the intrinsic entrepreneurship abilities of women and encourage them to establish and scale up their businesses.
Undoubtedly, this programme will not only elevat female entrepreneurs in the country, it will also with time bridge the gender gap and spur women to thrive to the pinnacle of their careers – whether formal or informal.