Celebrating International Women’s Day
Policy and agriculture leaders have highlighted the importance of gender equality in the agriculture sector while marking International Women’s Day 2022.
Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Dr Mahendra Reddy last night launched the Gender in Agriculture Policy (2022-27) saying women were “important in achieving household agricultural output” as part of delivering national food security.
Data from the 2020 Fiji Agricultural Census shows 46.8% of women participated in at least one Agricultural activity – crop, livestock fisheries and forestry.
The launch of the Gender in Agriculture Policy was held at South Sea Orchids.
“This policy proposes to address the identified gender gaps in agriculture and incorporates actions related to farming, livestock, forestry or fisheries,” Dr Mahendra Reddy told the gathering.
“Despite the high incidence of women participation in agriculture, only 14% of professional farmers are women. Data also showed that female farmers have lower level of education than their peers in all levels, and less access to agricultural inputs, such as land or farming equipment and services such as finance, markets or technical assistance.”
The policy includes a four way action strategy:
- (1) Equality of access to the economic resources required for productive and resilient agriculture and markets;
- (2) Equality of access to the information, technology and training needed for secured livelihoods and healthy diets;
- (3) Equality of representation and participation in decision making for informed future agricultural planning and resourcing;
- (4) Effective mainstreaming of gender perspectives in all programmes through strengthened capacities, resources and commitment in the agriculture ministries
Dr Mahendra Reddy said the policy was prepared through a participatory process that included consultation with other government ministers and stakeholders following which a validation process was conducted with participatory from civil society and development partners as well as women farmers and groups.
The policy will see much needed support within the sector and is expected to address climate change, disaster resilience, a strong and healthy sector that will also provide a decent source of livelihood to men and women in Fiji.
Pacific Farmer Organisations manager, Lavinia Kaumaitotoya has welcomed the Gender in Agriculture Policy (2022-27) describing it as a “major breakthrough”.
“We’re very pleased that the government is taking concrete action to address the challenges; our members are encouraged with government’s support in promoting gender equality, and shares the Organisation’s belief that it can open up significant opportunities for the farming industry in Fiji.”
Meanwhile the Pacific Farmer Organisations yesterday afternoon opened a 2-Day regional dialogue with 10 women farmer leaders to celebrate their rise in leadership and resilience in the era of climate change and Covid-19.
Samoa Farmers Association executive Leaupepe Lasa Aiono said while there were many challenges to overcome in agriculture, women have come a long way.
“We’re seeing major shifts in all areas of women’s lives; it’s evident now with many of the farmer groups, NGOs and the private sector are led by women including Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries where 60% of influential leadership positions are held by women, and then of course there’s our first woman Prime Minister – need we say more?”
“While there’s some hesitance in traditional rural settings and may require time for it to sink in, there’s an increasing number of women matai. Leadership comes naturally to a Samoan woman.”
Joining her at the Pacific Farmer Organisations International Women’s Day Talanoa Webinar Event were Cook Islands Te Tango Enua’s Bernadette Teremoana, Fiji’s Tutu Rural Training Centre’s Serenia Madigibuli and Pacific Farmer Organisation’s Lavinia Kaumaitotoya.
Today the Dialogue continues with members from South Sea Orchids (Mrs Burness, Fiji), Nishi Trading (Jenny Nishi, Tonga), PNG Women in Agriculture Development Inc (Maria Linibi), Fiji Crop Livestock & Council (Jiu Daunivalu), ANAPROFIKO (Milena Gomes, Timor Leste) and Growers Federation of Tonga (Sinai Tuitahi) who will be weighing in on the discussion.
The Talanoa Webinar Event starts at 430PM Fiji Time.
Registrations are now open : https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEsfumtrz0pG9CDwTFxvfKHQcu4Ce_4zNk9