mercredi 18 septembre 2013

Rural Women in Agriculture Innovative System (AIS)

     Kenyan women on their community farm (Picture courtesy Peter Casier/CCAFS)

  Rural women, have a central role to play in agriculture, rural development and food security. These are the keys elements  that agriculture innovation systems (AIS) should take into account.
In spite of all traditional considerations, customs and discrimination against women, they  have a great potential to deal with rural development challenges such as food security, poverty alleviation, health care, water management, climate change etc.

1. Why must we paid attention on gender issues?

After economic crisis in 1896 and devaluation of FCFA (Currency used in most West and Central francophone African Countries) in 1994, we assist to the emergence of  various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), associations, and projects working for empowering rural women capacities. We consequently observed that the number of women farmer organization's increased significatively. The increase number of those farmer organization were not directly respect to the service offer by both public and private extension services. Faced to this situation, the main challenge was to put in place a good policy for women capacities building in agricultural production.

For example, in West-Cameroon, a small village called “Nka’a” has about 1,500 inhabitants. Amoung the 36 farmers organizations existing 12 are exclusively created by women, with women, for women. Each organization can count up to 25 members.Those 12 women organization assure about 80-90% of total food production specially roots and tubers (cocoyam, yams, and cassava), grain (maize, beans), market garden (tomatoes, cabbage, celery, sweet pepper, leek and pepper). Men are exclusively involved in crops like coffee and banana, But inspite all these potential, local traditions are not conducive in empowering women capacity and they do not benefit most for rural advisory services as it is. In some village women are not allowed to speak publicly in presence of men. because Men are considered as the head of the family and have the last word in decision making. All these discrimination have considerably reduce the rural potentialities in food production and maintain most region speciffically Northern regions in precary situation of food insecurity.

2. Women at the centre of farming family

 Agriculture innovation systems therefore need to reconsider the position of women in its strategy. For example in some areas men are used to sensitize women and vice-versa. because problems of gender is not only focus on equity between men and women but try to analyse to contribution of each in development process. In Northern Cameroon, when we want to popularize an agricultural innovation, men and women are trained separately. We first inform and train all men, encouraging them to send their women to a separate course. The trainer of the women are also a woman, which ensures their full and active participation.
During the training session, we also try to convice women to better sinsitize their husbands about the implementation of innovation we want to introduce.
Considering that, women are the mother of household, responsible for feeding their familiies, all agricultural extension and advisory services should considered and valorize their potential in order to assure the sustainability of actions. 

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