… celebrates International Day of Rural Women
Whilst COVID-19 has had an adverse effect on all spheres of human endeavour, women living in rural settlements have been particularly disadvantaged at the peak of the pandemic as it led to the disruption in the supply chain of agriculture produce, Emmanuel W. Wullingdool, Executive Director for the Centre for Women in Agriculture and Nutrition (CWAN), has said.
“Considering the leading role they play in such a crucial sector, urgent remedial measures like a stimulus package must be extended to them to help improve their living and working conditions,” he said.
Speaking to the media on the event of the celebration of this year’s International Day of Rural Women under the theme ‘Building Rural Women Resilience in the Wake of COVID-19’, he also added that, whilst majority of rural women are engaged in agriculture they are confronted with serious challenges.
Major issues of concern to rural women are issues of access and ownership of land, access to quality credit, access and use of certified seed and access to mechanization services among others, he said, citing data from the United Nations (UN), which estimates that less than 20% of landholders worldwide are women.
Furthermore, the data source suggests that if women in rural areas had the same access to agricultural assets, education, and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased, and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million.
To this end, he stated: “As a way forward to meeting the needs of the rural women, the center calls for renewed efforts such as: the establishment of land banks that can help rural women to have access to productive lands as well as the need to establish mechanization centers targeting women farmers in the rural areas.”
Mr. Willingdool commended the government and its efforts aimed at improving the lot of rural women through the Women in Agriculture Development of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and other policy interventions.
To consolidate gains already achieved, he urged political parties to ensure that as matter of national interest, there is the inclusion of the challenges and concerns of rural women in their manifestoes as the country heads for the polls in December.
He further stated that: “Providing adequate and timely support to rural women is not only going to ensure food security in the country, but it is also smart economics. They have the potential to contribute greatly to the overall economic development of the country.”
The UN International Day of Rural Women was established in 2008 to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.