Project To Empower Women On Smart Agriculture Unveiled

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FAO and United Nation Women (UN) have formally kicked off a Shs 7 million project aimed at strengthening women’s capacity to meaningfully engage in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). It is a four-year project in three Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties of Laikipia, West Pokot and Kitui and it is funded by the Korea International Corporation Agency (KOICA).

The project seeks to promote an approach to agricultural transformation in a changing climate in Kenya’s ASAL regions that ensures gender-sensitive responses to climate change and to resilience building. It is also very important as Kenya’s Vision 2030, identifies agriculture as one of the key movers to deliver the 10 per cent annual economic growth rate envisaged under the economic pillar. Also, the sector has high employment potential and is capable of absorbing many women who are currently faced with high unemployment rates, noting that, 60 per cent of all unemployed and underemployed youth are female.

Mrs Carla Mucavi, FAO representative to Kenya, noted that women account for 60-75 percent of the labour force in smallholder agriculture in Kenya (as well as in many other countries in Africa) and that the project will increase the technical know-how of farmers on CSA approaches, unlock market driven value-chains for women and improve their capacity to participate in productive land and water management, as well as increase the women in agribusiness’ access to finance. Additionally, according to UN Women Country Representative to Kenya Anna Mutavati, women economic empowerment is central to achieving gender equality, adding that it is therefore paramount that, in a country where women feature so heavily in the agriculture sector.

As the agricultural production remains the main source of income for most rural communities, the adaptation of the agricultural sector to the adverse effects of climate change is thus an important priority, to protect and improve the livelihoods of the poor and to ensure food security.

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