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Closing gender gap in agriculture will boost women’s bargaining power

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Women make up a significant portion of the agricultural Labour force, according to the latest report by World Bank which also shows that 80 per cent of Kenyan farmers are made up of women.

When Africa’s women farmers thrive, everyone benefits: the women themselves, the children in whom they invest, the communities that they feed, and the economies to which they contribute.

With the right investments and policies, Africa’s woman-run farms could produce a bumper crop of development.

Over 60% of all employed women in Sub-Saharan Africa work in agriculture. Yet the region’s women farmers often reap a meager harvest, not because of inclement weather or poor soil quality, but because of their gender – or, more specifically, because of a dense web of laws, policies, programs, and customs that put them at a significant disadvantage.

Speaking during Bidco’s farm visit in Nakuru, Women in Business, President Mary Muthoni highlighted some of the issues affecting women in business especially farming.

She sighted issues hindering the success of farmers to be inadequate access to land, access to funding, limited access to new practices, limited access to technological advancement, less market opportunities and lack of infrastructure.

“I am calling on the County and National governments to make overall policy but counties can do a good deal to support farmers through laws and regulations, financial support and education. Women sensitive approach can make a big difference and women members of County Assemblies could and should influence the development of such approach,” Muthoni said.

Bidco’s chairman Vimal Shah indicated that empowering and investing in women especially in rural areas will significantly increase productivity while reducing hunger and malnutrition. He also urged the government to address issues highlighted by women farmers in the country.

Early this year, the World Bank launched a report on growth projection on the Sub-Saharan African countries for 2019. In the report growth in the 48 Sub-Saharan countries remained slow through 2019 hampered by uncertainty in the global economy and slow pace in domestic reforms. “Empowering women will help boost growth.

African policy makers face an important choice, business as usual or deliberate steps towards a more inclusive economy,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank vice president for Africa. “After several years of slower than expected growth closing the opportunity gap for women by removing barriers to their economic participation is the best way forward.”

 

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