March 8, 2016
CTA regards the full empowerment of women as essential to enable gender equality in engagement.
The importance of women in CTA’s work cannot be over-emphasised. Almost half of economically active women worldwide depend on agriculture for their livelihood, a figure that rises to almost 80% in least developed countries. And yet women earn less than men for the same tasks, have fewer rights to land and property, and where they do hold land, it is generally poorer than land held by men.
A farmer herself, Elisabeth Atangana is passionate about the need for effective associations to give a voice to producers and the importance of acknowledging women’s contribution to agriculture. She has been instrumental in shaping the farmers’ movement in her native Cameroon, as well as at regional and continental levels. A former head of the Pan African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO), she is currently President of the Regional Platform of Farmers’ and Producers’ Organizations of Central Africa (PROPAC), as well as Special Ambassador for Cooperatives at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Launched to add value to local fruit and generate income for women, Guyana’s Pomeroon Women’s Agro-Processors Association is going from strength to strength. Its President, Rosamund Benn is just one of a number of women whose life has changed beyond recognition since the agro-processing enterprise was first set up in one of the members’ homes 15 years ago.
With a rapidly growing population, the Pacific nation of Kiribati will need to forge stronger links between agriculture and nutrition if it is to feed its people in the face of devastating impacts from climate change. Nutritionist and public health manager Eretii Timeon is in the frontline of efforts to assure better diets for a population that is currently suffering a dangerous mix of child malnutrition and adult obesity.
Tanzanian entrepreneur Rose Funja believes that information and communication technologies (ICTs) hold the key to a better future for young women, especially in the agriculture sector. Setting an example to them all, she has launched a start-up that links small-scale farmers to financial institutions – and is now turning her thoughts to drones.
Rose Kamanga grew up on a farm with her parents, and she now farms a 10-hectare plot in Dika Mhlanga village, northern Malawi. In response to difficulties caused by drought, erratic rainfall and warmer temperatures, she has embarked on a programme to introduce climate-smart practices to her farm, acting on advice from a government agricultural extension worker. In an interview, this mother of two children explains that the results have been well worth the extra effort to her family.
An encounter with an innovative technique known as participatory three-dimensional modelling was to prove a turning point in the life of a young tribeswoman from rural Chad. She now travels the globe to advocate for the rights of her own and other indigenous communities, and to press for their voice to be heard in negotiations about climate change, on which their futures depend.