HomeNewsGovt to assist female farmers

Govt to assist female farmers

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WOMEN and Gender Affairs secretary Slyvia Utete-Masango says government has adopted an implementation framework to assist women farmers who are currently faring badly compared to their male counterparts.

Report by Wonai Masvingise

Utete-Masango was speaking at a one-day Women in Agriculture workshop co-hosted by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Income and Employment Development Programme, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Competitiveness Program me and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Harare.

“In agriculture, we found that women farmers were not doing so well and the majority of farmers are in the rural areas. From the findings, we came up with an implementation framework applicable to all sectors,” Utete-Masango said.

She said the ministry was persuading women especially in semi-arid regions to concentrate on small grain farming.

In a speech read in his behalf, secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Ngoni Masoka said women played a major role in the country’s agricultural sector but were faced by numerous challenges.

“Women have difficulties in accessing credit, equipment and machinery essential for production, technical knowledge and expertise to produce high-quality products and markets,” he said.

“Information about markets and strategies to penetrate those markets on a sustainable basis is a big challenge for women. Women remain largely excluded from the big decision-making processes within the public and private spheres and this poses a major challenge for them to participate in the national development process.”

USAID mission director Melissa Williams said the workshop was meant to identify ways in which women in the agricultural sector could be supported.

“This is a particularly exciting workshop because it demonstrates a strong Zimbabwe-US partnership to support and actively invest in empowering women in agriculture,” Williams said.

“This workshop will highlight some of the successes and challenges that women encounter when they try to increase their capacity to generate income through agriculture. This is a critical first step to improving gender awareness and equity in the sector.”

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