World, Africa

FAO launches campaign to end gender bias in farming

Women receive less training, access fewer loans and are generally less represented in farmer orgs. in Africa, says UN body

James Tasamba   | 17.07.2019
FAO launches campaign to end gender bias in farming

KIGALI, Rwanda

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a campaign to make women primary stake holders in the field of agriculture investments in the African continent, by working with regional legislators, to strengthen legal frameworks.

It has suggested to form a coalition of regional parliamentarians, to influence policy institutions in the continent, to give women their dues in agriculture economy, at par with male members.

Addressing parliamentarians from 15 African countries, who had converged in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali, the FAO Country Representative to Rwanda Gualbert Gbehounou, sought support form legislators to help women engaged in the field of agriculture.

Gbehounou noted that despite women playing primary role in agricultural production and rural household incomes, they have limited access to land.

“There is need to transform and strengthen legal frameworks for empower women in agriculture and enable them to benefit equitably from agricultural investments,” he said.

The three-day meeting was organized by FAO bringing together parliamentarians from the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) bloc, to apprise them about the need to enforce gender equality in the field of agriculture.

According to Gbehounou, women receive less agricultural extension training, get access to fewer loans and are generally less represented in the farmers’ organizations.

According to FAO, women represent nearly 45% of the agricultural labor force. “They (women) make essential contribution to food security and also sustain rural economy as famers, laborers and entrepreneurs,” a rights activist told Anadolu Agency.

Noting that women have been resilient in the face of limited access to land, Abdoulaye Vilane, chairperson of ECOWAS Network of Parliamentarians on Gender Equality and Investments in Agriculture, said there is need for gender equality to become a reality in people’s minds.

Christophe Bazivamo, the deputy secretary-general, in charge of the productive and social sectors at the East African Community bloc called on countries to allocate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture.

In 2015, world leaders had resolved to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition, as well as eliminate gender based discrimination, while formulating the Sustainable Development Goals, that have to be realized by 2030.

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