FEMALE farmers have urged the government to urgently craft policies that allow them to use their livestock as collateral security when they seek funding from banks.
BY TALENT GUMPO
Speaking during a beef and leather value chain technical assistance project workshop held recently in Bulawayo, Irene Maphenduka from the Matabeleland North Women Livestock Association (MNLA) said banks were reluctant to lend them money due to lack of collateral security.
“As women, we are facing challenges in accessing working capital because most of us do not own houses and banks only regard houses as collateral,’ she said.
“We raised the matter and it was agreed that we could use our livestock but it is not yet a policy, we are seeking that it be made a policy that will clearly state that women who own any kind of livestock be allowed to borrow money from banks,” Maphenduka said.
“We no longer want our farming businesses to remain small, we want to grow like our male counterparts, but we cannot do that without working capital so we are appealing to the government to assist us in this regard.”
Maphenduka also disclosed that women farmers lacked representation in decision-making bodies.
“We also want to be consulted when policy-making is taking place, most decisions are taken without our input and most times women are less represented in farmers’ decision-making bodies making it hard for our views to be considered,” she said.
“We are happy that we were also considered to come and be part of policy-making because most of the time we are exempted from the process.”
Recently, the Lands Ministry’s gender department urged the government to craft policies that ensured women farmers also benefited from the land redistribution programme to improve their livelihoods.