1.1 Background to the Study
The practice of agriculture is as old as man. It has been part of the human race from the point of creation. There is a nexus between divinity and human practice of agriculture because the first noble assignment given to mankind after creation of the universe is to take care of the garden and all living creatures which is agriculture in practice. Ever since then, human race of different ages and dispensation has been fully engaged in one form of agricultural practice or the other. Agriculture today is one of the forces that drive development in different nations of the world especially in most developing countries. Agriculture occupies a central place in the economic activities and development of developing counties. Agriculture improves food security in many ways, most fundamentally by increasing the amount of food and also by providing the means to purchase food (Nchuchuwe & Adejuwon, 2012). Agriculture will remain for many years a major contributor to the economies of most developing countries. Agriculture is a prime sector for development in an agrarian economy (Mahapatra, 2012).
Agriculture is inextricably linked to development and therefore plays an important role in economic and social developments of developed and developing countries, No wonder, it occupies a central place in the actualization of the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs) agenda. However, in as much as agriculture is fundamental to ensuring food security, women impact and contribution to food security agenda cannot be ignored.
Women are clearly an important part of the agricultural labour force, but agriculture and agricultural value chains are equally important to women as a source of improvement (Njuki, Kruger & Starr, 2013). Women no doubt occupy a central position in agricultural development. They play significant role in the different facet of agricultural activities such as crop production, horticulture, livestock production, fisheries and others. Women play vital roles in agricultural production in all parts of the world. They play an indispensable role in farming and in improving the quality of life in rural areas (Nuhu, Donye & Bawa, 2014; Prakash, 2003).
Women have been the focus of attention of all international and national development programmes and efforts have been directed at empowering them in all fields of activity (Prakash, 2003). Women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food in most developing countries and are responsible for half of the world’s food production, yet their key roles as food producers and providers and their critical contributions to household food security is only now being recognized (Bolarin & Adamade, 2015). However, if sustainable agricultural development is to be translated into food and nutrition security, the active engagement of women is absolutely necessary because women also have the right to be equal partners in the agricultural sector (Raidimi, 2014).
Women have a significant role in the global food security agenda as enshrined in the global sustainable development goals (SDGs). No doubt, food security is said to exist when people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Agriculture remains an important engine of growth and poverty reduction, however, the sector seems to be underperforming in many countries in part because women, who are often a crucial resource in agriculture and the rural economy, face constraints that reduce their productivity (Njuki, Kruger & Starr, 2013). However, achieving food and nutritional security requires every member of society to have access to nutritious food and the information and freedom to make appropriate choice concerning good nutrition (Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2013).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Women usually have limited accesses to resources and opportunities and their productivity remains low relative to their potential. Due to lack of awareness in our society women’s role has not been recognized (Lynda, 1991) noted that we live in a society in which there is substantial level of gender inequality. The inequality in the provision of education reflects the deep rooted tradition and values within the ideological, political, economical and socio-cultural structure of societies (Kasente, cited in Takele, 2008). In terms of ownership of property, the women in this country have no equal right as men. In addition, the dominance of men in various income generating activities affects highly the economic empowerment of women. The purpose of this study was therefore to evaluate the activities of rural women and their participation in agricultural production to fulfil the food security of their family. This study will however investigate the role of women farmers in economic development of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.
1.3 Research Objectives
The study has both general objective and specific objectives. The general objective or main objective of this study is to examine the role of women farmers in economic development of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
i) To understand the position of women in agricultural development
ii) To determine the challenges to women contribution to agricultural development in Nigeria
iii) To examine the gender dimension of agricultural activities in Nigeria
1.4 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) What is the position of women in agricultural development?
ii) What are the challenges to women contribution to agricultural development in Nigeria?
iii) What is the gender dimension of agricultural activities in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following shall be the research hypotheses to be tested in this study:
i) There is a significance relationship between women involvement in agriculture and agricultural sector development
ii) There is a significance correlation between women involvement in agriculture and economic development
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study will be useful in selecting appropriate rural women in Aguata Local Government Area. It is also hoped that it will help the rural women in producing and advertising their products. The out put of the study could be significant for decision makers in providing valuable information with regard to the role of women in agriculture, other activities and work load, and hence formulate gender sensitive development projects. And finally it creates awareness among the society and outsiders on the role played by women and give due respect to their contribution. Finally, it is my hope that the project work will justify the economic investment in rural women in Aguata Local Government Area.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study focuses on the role of women farmers in economic development of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. As a result of time and financial constrains book on social studies and geography of Anambra State which relate to economic contribution of women in Anambra State are consulted. Questionnaires are written, to take a random sampling of economic contribution of women in Aguata Local Government Area in Anambra State.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Agriculture: the English term ‘agriculture’ is derived from Latin words ‘ ager ’ or ‘agri’ meaning soil’ and ‘cultura’ meaning cultivation i.e. agriculture is cultivation of soil in it narrow sense.