On Friday, 14 October, 2016 GENDER AN ENVIRONMENTAL RISK REDUCTION INITIATIVE (GERI) an NGO based in Makurdi, Benue State joined other CSOs, partners, rural women farmers and key stake holders in government and the private sector to celebrate the rural women. This was on the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women organized by the National Association of Women in Agriculture NAWIA. The International Day of Rural Women often called Rural Women’s Day Celebration is a day set aside by the United Nations to recognize Rural Women’s importance in enhancing Agricultural and Rural Development worldwide. This followed a recommendation made in the 4th World Conference on women in Beijing, China 1995. The day had since been marked annually since 2008 on the 15th of October. The theme for this year’s celebration was: CLIMATE IS CHANGING, FOOD AND AGRICULTURE MUST TOO.
The occasion commenced with a rally from the Cool Off Park Wurukum to the IBB Square in High-Level and featured music, dance, with the participants bearing banners and placards with key messages such as “Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture must change too…”, “Prioritise women” “End food wastage” “Prioritise local Agro-factories” and the hashtag #united4food. GERI staff and volunteers lead some sections of the march bearing banners.GERI as an organization is actively involved in shaping the position of rural women and farmers in communities in Benue especially through some of her projects with support from various partners.
The messages from various stakeholders at the IBB Square, including the NAWIA President, Mrs. Ngizan Chahul, was clear, based on the theme for this year’s celebration. She called for a change in the State Agricultural Policy, more budgetary allocations for agriculture, and investment in agriculture in line with the change in Climate.
In her message, Bethule Nyamambi a Trust Africa representative from Zimbabwe commended the strength of the Benue woman and encouraged all women present to continue to strive hard for better options for rural women farmers.
Other stakeholders and partners who spoke at the event lent their support to amplifying the voices of rural women farmers to say STOP FOOD WASTAGE, PRIORITISE LOCAL AGRO-PROCESSING FACTORIES and above all PRIORITISE WOMEN.
The Benue State Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Women Affairs and Social Development as well as the Benue State Planning Commission alongside other relevant government agencies were well represented at the event which also had in attendance members of the Civil Society organizations in Benue State.