VPs roots for women in agriculture

April 22, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has called on agricultural organisations to involve more women in leadership positions.

In a speech read on his behalf by Nduati Kariuki, the National Chairman of the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP), the Vice President noted that most traders in agricultural products were women.

“At any give time you find that women constitute 70 percent of traders involved directly or indirectly with agricultural products,” he said.

At the same time Mr Musyoka challenged leaders of farmers’ organisations in Africa to involve both the private and public sectors in addressing the problems facing the industry.

“Although agriculture is key to Africa’s economic growth, the African farmer faces numerous challenges.”

He added: “Full potential in agriculture is inhibited by numerous challenges ranging from low investment due to limited access to financial services, poor land distribution, market access constraints, low level of technological penetration and adverse climatic conditions, among others.”

Mr Musyoka called for prudent management of such organisations and stressed the need for strengthening such groups to cover all levels of society down to the grassroots.

“Already this is what is happening in Kenya where farmers, through organised groups at the district level, are being supported and encouraged by the government to venture into farming as a commercial activity.”

At the same time Mr Musyoka urged the leaders to play a bigger role in the implementation of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program, so as to complement their governments’ efforts in fighting poverty as stipulated in the Millennium Development Goals.

The remarks were made during the official opening of the 16th African Regional Committee meeting of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) at the Panari Hotel in Nairobi.

The meeting whose theme is “Harnessing Farmers’ Efforts to Realise Food Security in Africa” brings together leaders of farmers’ organisations from across the continent, as well as observers from the rest of the world.

The participants will discuss the contribution of regional trade integration towards food security, and also explore the opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with world organisations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development and Food and Agricultural Organization.

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