Mon. Sep 28th, 2020

Supporting Farmers

FAO and Rwanda works together on the impotance of gender in agriculture

5 min read

©FAO/Teopista Mutesi. The plenary session of Rwanda’s Parliament. FAO raised awareness on the relevance of involving more women in agriculture as it ensures increased food production, nutrition and incomes

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a high level policy dialogue with Rwanda’s Senators and Chamber of Deputies and other government institutions to raise awareness on how to meet the global and regional commitments that Rwanda has ratified.
The meeting is also to help the Parliamentarians understand and address persistent gender gaps in commitments, such as the CEDAW, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Malabo Declaration.
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In Rwanda, like other African countries, women perform a wide range of activities that support agricultural development. According to Rwanda’s 2012 census, 72 per cent of workers, aged 16 years and above are employed in agriculture, of which 82 per cent were female workers. Rwanda has made commendable progress in ensuring gender equality and empowering women.

Gender mainstreaming gaps and challenges in agriculture
The dialogue, titled “Rwanda agriculture policy and its nexus with gender equality, Malabo Declaration and the SDGs for a Climate Smart Agriculture”, brought to light some of the challenges that are still evident in mainstreaming gender, such as constraints in accessingmarkets including cultural stereotypes, limited access to tools and transport facilities for women, women have less access and control over agriculture resources at household’s level.
Women have a relatively low inclusion in formal financial services that limits their participation in agribusiness and thus their earning potential compared to men. Additionally, women have limited access to formal finance and are more at risk of financial exclusion. Only 25.5% of loans beneficiaries are women.
Opening the meeting, the speaker of Rwanda’s Parliament, Donatille Mukabalisa, emphasised that mainstreaming gender equality in agriculture would increase participation of women in agriculture and productivity.
“Women and youth involvement in agriculture will ensure improved production which in turn will accelerate inclusive growth with no one left behind in development of our country. As lawmakers we’ll monitor and support the efforts and activities towards attainment of global goals in regards to ensure rights of women,” she noted.
FAO Country representative to Rwanda, Attaher Maiga, told the plenary that FAO aims atensuring that efforts to improve agriculture and enhancement of the livelihood of the people leave no one behind.
Contribution of PSTA 4 to food security
The Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA4) targets achievement of the SDGs related to agriculture, which Rwanda is strongly committed to hosting the SDG Centre for Africa. The agriculture sector will contribute to the achievement of several SDGs, especially: SDG 1 (end extreme poverty); SDG 2 (zero hunger, improved nutrition, and sustainable agriculture); SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth); SDG 13 (climate action); SDG 15 (terrestrial ecosystems, forests, and land).
The minister of finance and economic planning, Claver Gatete who participated in the dialogue stressed that the principle of gender equality is a cross-cutting issue in all policies and strategies, including the country’s long-term development framework, Vision 2020, and medium term strategies-EDPRS2 and 7-year Government Programme.
Gender equality as enabler towards achieving zero hunger
Nutrition of the mother has impact of the growth of the children. Anemia prevalence among women in reproductive age is 19.2% in Rwanda. Addressing the plenary session, Tacko Ndiaye, senior gender expert, said that Rwanda should bring more women and youth into agriculture and increase their participation in agribusiness to uplift themselves out of poverty.
“Rural agriculture transformation agenda will cannot be achieved unless we unleash the full productive potential of women and youth in agriculture and agribusiness; they are drivers of change to create jobs and wealth,” she advised.
The Minister of agriculture and animal resources, Geraldine Mukeshimana who made a presentation on the links between PSTA 4 and National Agriculture Policy, SDGs, Malabo Declaration Agenda 2063, noted that PSTA4 would ensure people come out of poverty, improve food security and nutrition.

FAO’s Francesca Distefano, Gender and Development Specialist, told the lawmakers that planning and development of programmes under PSTA4 would empower women to participate more in the agriculture sector.
What needs to be done in terms of Policy
Gender experts suggested some of the policies that would address persistent gender gaps in the Rwandan agricultural sector, among them;
– enabling women farmers to gain basic literacy,
– encouraging the private sector to develop financial products including credit and insurance to meet the needs of women farmers and developing women skills to develop bankable projects that give them access to loans,
– easing access to modernization of agriculture; as well as accessing markets for their produce and training in agricultural processing and packaging of their products.

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