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UNLOCKING BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR RURAL WOMEN FARMERS

Uganda National Farmers Federation -UNFFE held a Round Table Dialogue for Rural Women from the 14th to 15th February 2024 at Eureka Hotel in Kampala which was organized under the Theme: Unlocking business opportunities for rural women farmers through meaningful partnership.

It was discovered that for one to define the current status of rural women, the following characteristics will not be missed: Poor and uneducated, voiceless and powerless, economically disempowered, socially excluded, cannot own any facts of production including land and other properties, Facing Gender-based violence, politically misrepresented, one who produces with little or no business mind.

The Dialogue organized by UNFFE in partnership with the German Association of Rural Women -dlv attracted over 20 rural women farmer leaders from all regions of the country, Members of Parliament, officials from the Equal Opportunities Commission -EOC, Civil Society Organizations, the Private sector, and the media. 

Ms Regina Nakayingo – Managing Director – RENA Beverages Solutionsunderscored the need to organize rural women into strong groups to ensure good leadership proper representation, and business plan development. She pointed out the need to add value to agricultural products for both livestock and crop to guarantee more financial returns sighting an example of poultry where women can extract feathers to use on crafts, adding value to vegetables and fruits to extract juices, yoghurt from milk, coffee snacks and many other lucrative venture.

The chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission Hon. Hajjat Safia Nalule Juuko called upon all village woman farmers to embrace Data collection and statistics as their starting point in their village groups. She says that village women farmers have to collect Data to know the diversity of the women they work with because they are not homogeneous groups.

Hon. Judith Alyek the Kole district woman member of parliament who doubles as the chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Committee in parliament emphasized the need to directly engage women farmers to ensure that they are willing and available to participate in development activities or are not excluded from participation. 

β€œIt is unclear whether women are being encouraged or even mandated to participate or if there are cases where they wish to participate but are prevented. In such cases, address the factors preventing them from participating other than moving from a predetermined viewpoint that such and such is the cause of the problem. In other words, listen to rural women more.” She said. 

Ms. Sharon Akulo, the UNFFE Vice President encouraged rural women to embrace all government programs such as the Parish Development Model -PDM to access the available financing opportunities presented. 

Other key presentations were made by Ms Babirye Isabirye and Ms Anirwoth Peace from the Equal Opportunities Commission who explained further the succession law provided under the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 as Amended with a closer look at the Marriage Act Cap 251 as Amended, the Succession (Amendment) Act Cap 162, and the Land Act Cap 227. 

In conclusion, Dr Pamela Kampire the Gender Specialist from the USAID Feed the Future Institutional Systems Strengthening Activity noted that the most prominent underlying assumption is that promoting Gender and Equity in communities is instrumental to achieving economic development which involves breaking the gender and equity traditional stereotypes which marginalizes women, men, boys, girls, Persons With Disabilities, Older people, Ethnic Minorities and those from hard-to-reach areas and difficult circumstances. 

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