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SACAU: 2015 Regional Women Forum in Seychelles

SACAU recognizes that both female and male farmers play an active role in agricultural supply chains especially in production, processing and marketing. The organization further recognizes that gender integration in agriculture makes good business sense. Unfortunately, despite all this, female farmers enjoy only a small share of the benefits of their efforts invested in agriculture. Women are also inadequately represented in the decision-making structures of Farmers’ Organizations (FOs).

The position of SACAU is that equal access of female and male farmers to power, decision-making and leadership of organizations is a necessary precondition for the proper functioning of the governance systems of FOs. Thus, both women and men need to be supported for the growth of the sector, however, women are left out. In its effort to address this challenge, SACAU with support from the Southern African Trust (SAT) and SFOAP, implemented a number of activities that were aimed at promoting women participation in agricultural decision-making processes.

One of such events was the first Regional Women Farmers’ Forum in Southern Africa that was held in August 2014. The forum brought together about 40 women farmers from different countries and focused on how to empower women to commercialize their agricultural activities. Women were also sensitized on good leadership and cooperate governance. At the forum that a decision was reached that women should be gathering annually to continue sharing experiences and learning from each other on agribusiness and development practices.

With support from the SFOAP, SAT, and We Effect, SACAU successfully convened the 2015 Regional Women Farmers’ Conference from 23rd to 24th of May 2015 in Mahe, Seychelles.

The conference was organized back to back with the SACAU Annual conference and General Meeting (AGM).

The theme of the conference was selected against the backdrop of the African Union declaring 2015 as “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development.” The focus was on how women farmers could be empowered through the implementation of various regional and national policies and programs. Women were also sensitized on some of the initiatives being undertaken by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), We Effect, Graca Machel Trust and Women in Agribusiness in the Sub Saharan Africa Alliance (WASAA). In addition, women farmers also shared amongst themselves factors leading to successful agribusiness adventures amidst the challenges women are facing.

The following were the specific objectives for the conference

  • To sensitize women farmers on what the “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development” mean to African women farmers within CAADP and Malabo declaration.
  • To Sensitize women on the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) and how they can monitor implementation of the plans (through their structures) to hold the authorities accountable.
  • To share success stories on how women are running successful agribusinesses ventures (processing, distribution, marketing etc.) amidst all the challenges
  • To share practices and challenges for women in accessing production resources such as land, capital (credit) and technology and how to collaborate with policy and decision makers to address the challenges and
  • To share the role of Technology and Mechanization in advancing the plight of women in agriculture for the betterment of women farmers

Women participants to the workshop were drawn from SACAU members in Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Partners from SAT, WASAA, GMT, African Union and COMESA also attended the conference. In addition, SACAU board members were also in attendance. 

To learn more, please download the report from the forum below and visit the SACAU webpage

 

 

Photo credit: SACAU

from 23/05/2015 to 24/05/2015
Thematic Areas: Gender
Region: South Africa
Countries: Seychelles