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23 August 2017
RUC2014 Blog 5: Empowerment by Women for Women in Nigeria Print
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:41

How can research contribute to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Nigeria? This article, first published by University of Ibadan and produced by UoI’s Adeola Funmilayo Oladeji as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, tells the story of how training in sweet potato processing could increase the likelihood of enhanced livelihoods for rural Nigerian women. 

This blog, from the University of Ibadan, is the fifth in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here

The information featured in this blog is drawn from published, peer-reviewed development research that was strategically selected by University of Ibadan leadership to align with DFID’s mission of ‘contributing to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Sub-Saharan Africa'.

The Women-In-Agriculture Unit (WIA) at University of Ibadan provides training activities on Sweet Potato processing to increase the likelihood of enhanced livelihoods for rural Nigerian women.

Training Session

The Process of Empowerment

In the last two decades, a lot of attention has been drawn to the important role of rural women in agricultural production in developing countries, especially Nigeria. However, prior to the realization that rural women constitute an economically active population, women were largely not considered productive because they usually worked as unpaid family labour. Women are involved in many activities relating to food production and should be economically empowered to improve the standard of living of rural households so as to contribute to enhanced food security in Nigeria. Sweet potato is a crop processed by the rural women for income generation. Food processing of sweet potatoes can be one of the means to reach this end of food security and economic empowerment, with training of women by the Women-in-Agriculture Unit allowing research to be put into use by these women to increase the economic value of the sweet potato by reducing waste, improving it’s consumer appeal, quality, storability, and uses and availability over time and space.

“the sweet potato has the potential to play an important role as a food security crop, providing a variety of human food, feed for animals and industrial products for for empowering the low-income women producers in Nigeria.”

The Sweet potato: A crop with immense potential if you know how

The Sweet potato can be prepared in many different ways to provide food for people. They are eaten as part of a main meal or as a snack, fried into chips or roasted as whole roots. They can also be processed into a flour, (which can be fortified with wheat flour) and then fried into puff-puff (yeasty, fried sweet potato balls), chin-chin, and sweet potato cake and buns. Furthermore sweet potatoes can be fermented into industrial alcohol, vinegar, yeast and acetone. Therefore, the sweet potato has the potential to play an important role as a food security crop, providing a variety of human food, feed for animals and industrial products for empowering the low-income women producers in Nigeria.

“women participating in the WIA programme enjoyed a number of advantages over their non-participant counterparts with whom they were compared.”

The extension activities of the Women-in-Agriculture Unit, within the Agricultural Development Programme of Nigeria, include teaching how to make new sweet potato products, insight into the nutritional value of sweet potato, problems with the processing of sweet potato products and identification of new sweet potato products.

Products made from Sweet Potatoes

Training makes an impact on women’s lives

The research “Enhanced Livelihood for Women through Women-In-Agriculture Unit (WIA) Training Activities on Sweet Potato in Nigeria” revealed that women participating in the WIA programme enjoyed a number of advantages over their non-participant counterparts with whom they were compared. This is because these women have a greater knowledge of and easier access to training and technologies through WIA extension agents.

 
The previous blog in this series can be found here and the next blog in this series here.

To find out more information about this project and to if you are interested in knowing more uses of sweet potato, please contact Prof Stella O. Odebode, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, or via mrsdrodebode@yahoo.com

Adeola Funmilayo Oladeji, Information Officer, Postgraduate School, rmo@mail.ui.edu.ng

Prof Stella O. Odebode, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development,

This article is a Research Uptake Communication collaborating between Prof Stella O. Odebode, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development and Adeola Funmilayo Oladeji, Research Management Office. It was informed by an existing publication “Enhanced Livelihood for Women through Women-In-Agriculture Unit (WIA) Training Activities on Sweet Potato in Nigeria”  

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