Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Women Empowerment Holds the key to Transforming Africa’s Agriculture

Priscilla Achekpa
Women groups under the aegis of the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC) at the ongoing African Climate Change conference in Marrakech, Morocco have identified increase in women’s access to productive resources such as land, credit, transfer and enhancement of indigenous technology as instrumental to transforming Africa’s agriculture.

Priscilla Achakpa of the Working Group decried the slow advancement and transformation of African women’s access to formal education and called on African governments to implement policies that support gender research and full documentation of impact of climate change on gender as well as build the capacity of women to participate in key decision making processes.
Speaking during a side event on the theme” using climate knowledge to empower women in the value chains. Towards transformation of Africa’s Agriculture” Ruth Aura, Researcher in Kenya reported that “It was evident that there is no specific government policy on climate change that targets women” but, she confirmed that if women are mobilized and trained they can really influence Africa’s agriculture. 

From the Successful CSA Evidence Stories shared by Ruth, on how small-scale women dairy farmers profitably participate in the growing dairy industry, improving nutrition and increasing farmer income and access to markets.
According to Ruth, Women make up at least 80% of the farming labor force in Kenya, so if these women are trained, given the right tools, they can produce not only subsistent but commercially which will subsequently change livelihood. 

With climate smart agriculture, the effects of variability and changes in climate which affects agriculture, production and storage will be better faced by women.  

Taking the information to women, at the right time and place by the right means, there is hope that women will be well equipped. This was the conclusion side of a research presented by during a side event that brought together the 2015-2015 African Women Report (AWR) researchers and gender and climate knowledge and agricultural value chain nexus. 

For Aissata Traore Thera; Plant pathologist-IER-MALI, women play an important role in the agricultural sector In Mali. They can be independent farmers, unpaid workers on family farms, suppliers of wage labor. 

It also involves many stakeholders including women and youths from the production to the market. However in mango industry, women are mainly involved in two aspects: the supplying of mangoes to the exporters led by women “trackers” (40%) and the processing (95%). 

It is important to note that knowledge dissemination to women will link them to market opportunities and empower them to overcome poverty and better face climate change.
African Women Researchers report that climate change is much more felt by vulnerable populations formed by rural women, youth and children because of their low purchasing power, low level of education, and difficult access to important information and innovations to adapt to climate change.

Women processors therefore need to be informed about new technologies of processing, innovative equipments and renewable energies. They need information to plan alternative activities when “farming” is not accessible.

By Amevor Aku Senam Rose

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