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  • David Oming

Women SSFs Call Upon the Government for Support in Value Addition to Boost Farming as a Business

Women still make up more than 70% of the agricultural labor force and make a significant contribution of over 23% to the national GDP, but the profits from this work are hardly aggregated and held accountable for their well-being. The majority of the food that women produce is consumed at home, while the remaining is frequently traded by males who take the lion's share of the profits.

Women are the nation's primary food producers, but they confront a number of obstacles that prevent them from producing food, including climate change, low seed quality, a lack of basic tools, a lack of awareness in farming communities, and a lack of cash. These difficulties place female farmers at a serious disadvantage even before they till a field or plant a seed.

On 31st October 2022, women small-scale farmers from 54 districts in Uganda held the fourth Women in Agriculture (WiA) conference at Hotel Africana, Kampala under the theme “Gender and trade: Positioning women for trade” where they discussed the constraints they face in generating income through small-scale rural agriculture and how best they can be supported in their production.

The National Chairperson ESAFF Uganda Mr. Hakim Baliraine acknowledged that women form the majority of the ESAFF Uganda membership in the districts of jurisdiction and have been empowered in different capacities to enable them achieve gender equity in the communities they live. “Over 60% of the district are led by women, they know their land rights, they have come to appreciate and believe that the resilient way of farming is agroecology. Women small-scale farmers are now able to restore the forgotten crops by breeding and teaching others”. Mr. Hakim added.

However, during the conference, it was noted that the biggest challenge the women small-scale farmers are facing is lack of access to affordable financial services in the agriculture sector.

“The biggest challenge that is affecting us women that I can highlight is access to affordable credit from banks and other financial institutions. We don’t have collateral to access credit from lending/finance institutions”. Ms. Beatrice Pangani, a small-scale farmer from Kasese said.

Ms. Sarah Mirembe from Micro Support Centre called upon the women to change their mindset to entrepreneurship. “There is need for increased cohesion of women farmer groups to work together with a business mindset and understanding of farming as a business. This will improve the livelihood of women and economically empower women”. Sarah added.

According to Charles Opiyo from Oxfam in Uganda, there is need for conducting market research at the farm level to increase the production capacities of small-scale farmers. To Charles, participatory research will support in market access and increased production levels to enable small-scale farmers to do farming as a business. He further noted that there is need to mobilize small-scale farmers to be in groups and cooperatives for collective marketing to increase the bargaining power of women farmers and it will allow them to benefit from government programs in their communities.

In conclusion, small scale farmers called upon the government to support women in value addition as this will widen the market base for women for them to do farming as a business. They further highlighted that they are struggling to access markets for their products and called upon their fellow farmers to utilize the KilimoMart App to market their products to increase their sales and allow women to access important information for their production.



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