Women and Agriculture Summit highlights urgent need for gender equality and innovation

October 02, 2023

The Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu, says there is a need to recognise women farmers and urgently address challenges they face including land rights.

Iipumbu was speaking at the Women and Agriculture Summit held in Windhoek, where stakeholders also emphasised the need to empower women farmers, promote gender equality, and ensure food security in the face of climate change and post-pandemic disruptions.

"We must recognise that women in agriculture face disparities in access to land, credit, and productive resources. This Summit is an opportunity for us to advocate for land rights for women and to promote financial inclusion, enabling them to invest in their farms and businesses," Iipumbu said.

With a theme centred on leveraging technology and innovation, the summit's discussions emphasised several critical aspects such as technological advancements and innovation, market access and fair pricing, amongst others.

Iipumbu stressed the importance of embracing technology and innovation in agriculture, adding that the approach not only enhances productivity but also attracts younger generations to agriculture.

"This includes promoting mechanisation, providing access to modern farming techniques, and equipping women with the necessary digital skills," she emphasised.

Women often struggle to access markets and receive fair prices for their produce. She committed the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade to promote market linkages, create value chains, and ensure women's involvement in shaping trade policies.

She referenced initiatives like the "Buy Local, Grow Namibia Campaign" which target women-led agribusinesses and aim to meet market standards for product accessibility.

The importance of education and capacity building programmes was underlined.

"These programmes equip women with sustainable farming practices, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship skills. Such knowledge empowers women to manage their farms and businesses more effectively," she said.

The Minister further emphasised the significance of value chains encompassing the entire process from farm to fork.

"A well-developed agricultural value chain maximises the benefits for both small family farms and large agribusinesses. Cooperative strengthening was highlighted as the key to achieving this goal," she said.

The summit, Iipumbu stated, aimed to "recognise and address these challenges, to harness the immense potential of women in agriculture, and to work together towards a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future".

The Minister called upon all stakeholders to support women in agriculture.

"Cooperatives in agriculture have a rich history of empowering farmers and rural communities," she stated.

"I call upon all stakeholders, including government agencies, civil society organisations, private sector partners, and international institutions, to join hands in supporting women in agriculture." 

The Women and Agriculture Summit served as a pivotal platform to advocate for gender equality, innovative solutions, and greater opportunities for women in Namibia's agricultural sector.








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Last modified on Tuesday, 03 October 2023 13:23

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