The Centre for Women in Agriculture and Nutrition (CWAN), a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), has called on the government to allocate dedicated credit facility to rural women for them to engage in productive agricultural activities.
It said women in rural communities contributed to the national food basket but, lack of finance crippled their efforts to produce enough.
Mr Emmanuel Wullingdool, the Executive Director of CWAN, made the call in a statement to mark the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women (IDRW) on the theme: “Rural Women cultivating good food for all”.
The statement noted that rural women had formed Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) to enable them generate funds to invest in their farming activities but that the initiative was not helpful enough to the women hence the need for government intervention.
“For immediate steps, there is the need for governments to use their National Budgets as a tool in ensuring that women have adequate access to credits. This would mean that a certain quota of government credit support under Government agriculture programmes could be given to women as a form of targeting”, the statement said.
The statement added that aside the lack of finance for rural women to farm, they were also faced with the challenge of access to productive farm lands as compared to their male counterparts.
It said the gender dimension of policies in the agriculture sector had not been fully implemented to the latter therefore creating barriers.
“Post-harvest losses of the produce affect women disproportionally, as they do not have adequate appropriate and affordable storage technologies for their produce.
“The losses are not only quantitative, but qualitative owing to the presence of aflatoxins and other poor storage methods that reduce the integrity and value of the products”, the statement added.
It therefore stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to surmount the challenges rural women faced to contribute to national development.
Rural women are not well empowered to access credit from credit institutions. They are not able to purchase the needed raw materials needed for them to engage in quality production.
“In this regard governments could leverage on the SUSU groups initiated by rural women to ensure they have the necessary credit support to improve on their work”, the statement explained.