|Strengthen women voices in agriculture
|31 May 2013
Women play a vital role in advancing agricultural development and food security and their voices need to be strengthen in agricultural decision-making at all levels and in all institutions said Sithembile Mwamakamba, project manager at the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).
Mwamakamba addressing the 5th PANRPAN Partners meeting in Pretoria said from the outcomes they had when FANRPAN successful partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the Women Accessing Realigned Markets (WARM) project, they saw that women farmers also need equal access to knowledge, full participation in and obtain appropriate returns from the agricultural system.
“The WARM project saw the successful training of women advocates in Malawi and Mozambique. We saw that women farmers need equal access to knowledge and must participate in and obtain appropriate returns from the agricultural system,” she added.
According to Professor Idah Sithole-Ingang AWARD chairperson said only one in 4 people in ?agriculture research is female and only one in 7 in leadership roles.
Addressing the meeting, Prof Sithole-Ingang said we recognise FANRPAN’s convening power and influence on policies that will empower women.
“We have to strengthen capacity of women smallholder farmers,” she said.
FANRPAN is undertaking follow up work with ?the support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to engage women in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) processes and also train them on value chains.
Officially opening the meeting, Mme Lynette Chen, FANRPAN Board Member and CEO of the NEPAD Business Foundation said as the continent celebrates Africa Day, let us take home that Africa indeed can feed itself.
“FANRPAN’s vision for 2013 is ‘leadership development and innovation’. A critical element we need in today’s globally connected and changing environment,” Chen said.
FANRPAN is a network, whose membership is in 16 at the moment and will soon be 17 African countries, with Benin joining the network this year.
“We welcome and embrace the Africa Union 2013 theme of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance as we celebrate our partnership and growth. Today, we share and interact as partners in agriculture and rural development with a single goal of ensuring a food secure Africa,” she said.
Permanent agricultural recovery for Africa is about good policies, strong institutions and partnerships, Chen said. “The on-going food security challenges present us with an opportunity for Africa to review its policies. FANRPAN’s vision is about growth, if you are already not part of the network this is the time to formalise your partnership. There is a stake and niche for all stakeholders who want to eradicate poverty in Africa.”