Zambian VP Inonge Wina calls on African governments to empower women smallholders
By NGIBO KAMPAKASA
Republican Vice President, Inonge Wina has called on African governments to enhance their efforts to empower female smallholder farmers through financial
literacy and entrepreneurship training programs.
In a press release made available to the National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS) by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Mrs. Wina said African women smallholder farmers are largely neglected and are currently receiving little or no financial and technical support from governments as they carry out their farming activities.
“An agricultural transformation can only happen in Africa when women smallholder farmers are able to maximize their full potential and this can only happen if they are fully empowered and supported to overcome the huge challenges they face as they go about trying to squeeze something out of their farms,” Mrs. Wina said.
She noted that while huge efforts were being made to build the capacity of female entrepreneurs involved in general trading activities, very little attention was being given to improving skills to women smallholder farmers who make up over 70 per cent of Africa’s rural farming population.
“Our governments need to recognize the important role that female smallholder farmers play in their national economies and invest resources to build up their financial literacy and ability to turn their farming activities into viable business enterprises,” she said.
She added: “Our decision to host the event in Zambia is prompted by the fact that the country has demonstrated to the world that African governments can achieve a green revolution. The Forum will be a platform for the country to showcase some of its innovative approaches in the agriculture sector and to share experiences with others.”
Meanwhile, AGRA President Dr. Agness Kalibata informed the Vice President that the theme for the 2015 forum, which will be hosted by the Government of Zambia, COMESA and AGRA is “Walking the talk on youth on women: Bringing inclusive agricultural markets to life”.
The Vice President thanked AGRA for choosing to bring the African Green Revolution Forum to Zambia and congratulated them for selecting what she described as “a very appropriate theme.”
Dr. Kalibata noted that there was an urgent need to develop and implement inclusive business models to ensure effective participation on women and youth in the agriculture development process.
Mrs. Wina further called on the AGRA President to ensure that the Forum came out with tangible and achievable outcomes. –NAIS