In a powerful call to action, Minister Lucia Iipumbu, spearheading the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, has illuminated the pressing need for gender equality and innovation in agriculture. Her impassioned remarks, delivered at the Women and Agriculture Summit in Windhoek, resonated with stakeholders who gathered to address the unique challenges faced by women farmers. From land rights to technological advancements, the summit’s discussions illuminated critical aspects of women’s roles in agriculture and their pivotal role in ensuring food security amid climate change and post-pandemic disruptions.
Recognizing Women Farmers:
Minister Iipumbu’s keynote address underscored the imperative to recognize and address the disparities faced by women in agriculture. “Women farmers face disparities in access to land, credit, and productive resources,” she affirmed. The summit stands as a catalyst for advocating for land rights for women and promoting financial inclusion to empower them to invest in their farms and businesses.
Leveraging Technology and Innovation: With its central theme of leveraging technology and innovation, the summit echoed the importance of embracing cutting-edge solutions in agriculture. Minister Iipumbu emphasized that technological advancements not only enhance productivity but also serve as a magnet, attracting younger generations to the field. “Promoting mechanization, providing access to modern farming techniques, and equipping women with digital skills are vital steps,” she highlighted.
Access to Markets and Fair Pricing:
Women often grapple with limited access to markets and fair pricing for their produce. Minister Iipumbu pledged the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade’s commitment to promoting market linkages, creating value chains, and ensuring women’s active participation in shaping trade policies. Initiatives like the “Buy Local, Grow Namibia Campaign” targeting women-led agribusinesses aim to meet market standards for accessibility.
Education and Capacity Building:
Education and capacity-building programs emerged as cornerstones of empowerment. These programs equip women with sustainable farming practices, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship skills, enabling them to manage their farms and businesses more effectively.
The Power of Value Chains:
Minister Iipumbu underscored the significance of robust agricultural value chains that encompass the entire process from farm to fork. “A well-developed agricultural value chain maximizes benefits for both small family farms and large agribusinesses. Cooperative strengthening was highlighted as the key to achieving this goal,” she stressed.
A Vision for an Equitable Future:
The Women and Agriculture Summit’s mission is clear: to recognize and address the challenges facing women in agriculture, harness their immense potential, and collaborate towards a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future. Minister Iipumbu called upon all stakeholders, from government agencies to civil society organizations, private sector partners, and international institutions, to unite in supporting women in agriculture.
The Women and Agriculture Summit has emerged as a pivotal platform, sounding the clarion call for gender equality, innovative solutions, and greater opportunities for women in Namibia’s agricultural sector. Minister Iipumbu’s impassioned plea echoes in the hearts of all stakeholders, urging them to join hands in empowering women farmers and shaping a more inclusive and promising agricultural landscape for all.
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