OPENING SPACE FOR WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE
By: Nomvula Ndlovu
Women’s engagement in the Agriculture sector has been said to be relatively underwhelming.
Women from all over Africa assembled at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) to share their Agribusiness expertise and experience on Friday.
The Women in Agriculture Conference, organised by NEPAD, aimed at giving women a platform to network and to come up with practical interventions to stimulate the sector.
To address the challenges facing women, representatives from all areas in agriculture hosted a workshop to educate the participants.
Among the many topics that were discussed, the most crucial point was on financing and the growth of women in the Agri-sector.
The NEPAD Director of Programmes, Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong, said that women can play a part as producers of food, managers of natural resources, income earners, and caretakers.
However, she stated that these same women, who are an important resource in agriculture and the rural economy, face many constraints.
She went to say however, that the challenges faced by women should not limit them in any way.
“We have to advocate that all cultural, social and economic barriers that prevent rural women from participating fully in the economic and political life of their countries are eliminated,” said Lisinge- Fotabong.
The attendees were pleased with information imparted to them and took home food for thought.
Fikisiwe Madlopha, a small scale commercial farmer said, “the conference has been quite an informative one. It has been good in the sense that it has given us as women a platform to see our commonality and share with other African countries. It was wise to have the workshop on how we plan to address and take action on the challenges stated.”
To conclude the two-day conference, which began on Thursday, each of the groups presented their practical strategic plans on how to expand the engagement of young women entrepreneurs in the Agri-business.