FAO to increase the capacity of African women in agriculture
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is set to invest in securing women’s rights to land and other productive resources, developing their capacity to boost food production and creating more wealth for family farmers, while preventing and minimizing food losses and waste. The objective being to enforce women’s right to land, food and decent employment.
During the 28th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (26-31 January 2016, Addis-Ababa), key stakeholders discussed practical actions required to ensure that efforts be made in improving the livelihoods of many African women through practical initiatives including in agriculture and agro-processing during this focus year.
“With FAO’s support to national governments, several countries have adopted national food and agricultural policies and action plans that fully integrate women’s and men’s needs. In this regard, FAO believes that investing in women along agricultural value chains is the right and smart thing to do for thriving rural communities and more gender equal societies in Africa”, said Mr. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.
“We are developing systemic capacity for expanding women’s opportunities in inclusive agricultural growth. For every dollar invested, the dividends are enormous in overcoming hunger, malnutrition and poverty and creating wealth for family farmers”, he added.
This 2016 African Union Year of Human Rights, with a focus on women’s human rights, provides a great opportunity to build on the 2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security and the 2015 Year of Women’s Empowerment to make to equalize rights in access to safe, nutritious and affordable food, decent employment, finance and markets.
FAO and the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) jointly organized a Conference on women in agriculture in November 2015 in Durban, South Africa, to provide a dialogue forum for sharing experiences and best practices on gender-sensitive financial and business services, innovative opportunities to improve women’s entrepreneurial skills and development, the progressive integration of their businesses into the formal economy and building of strategic alliances for women entrepreneurs.
Key issues addressed during the Conference included financial inclusion for women in agribusiness; capacity development across value chains; knowledge sharing platforms and up-scaling or replication of models that can facilitate partnership between government, industry and academics for market penetration and competition. All these are key contributions to advancing women’s rights to food and decent employment.
FAO is supporting women to participate more fully and profitably in value chain and agribusiness development by improving their access to financial services, business skills and technologies and innovations for agro-processing.
At the same time, FAO is strengthening the capacities of rural institutions to provide gender responsive service delivery and enhancing resilience and social protection for women farmers.
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