Women Farmers’ Clubs in Dowa say they have increased income for their sustainable livelihoods and participation in policy and decision making in agricultural planning processes, thanks to Development Aid from People to People (Dapp).
Dapp is implementing a project aimed at empowering women farmers to actively participate in efforts to reduce poverty and increased equality between women and men.
Mthethe Farmers Cooperative chairperson Miriam Phiri acknowledged in an interview last week that the project has contributed to increased income for their sustainable livelihoods and participation in agricultural policy and decision making processes at the grassroots level.
She said: “There is a significant improvement because the project advances problems women farmers face in a holistic approach in that it includes improving food and nutrition security, increasing income for sustainable livelihoods and increasing their participation in all policy and decision making processes. Besides, the project is also gender responsive.”
Kandodo Farmers Club chairperson Veronica Zulu said it was sad that despite the critical role rural women play in agriculture and management of the family, their role in agriculture planning and decision making has remained marginalised.
She cited failure by rural women and girls’ limitations to access productive assets, including land, agriculture inputs, extension services and technology and micro projects.
“Our clubs have realised bumper harvests. We have over 300 bags of soya beans, groundnuts and maize. Our challenge now is limited market options for our produce,” said Zulu.
Dapp Dowa Farmers’ Club project manager Paulo Chiziwa said the ultimate goal of the project is to build their resilience against economic shocks, effects of climate change and achieve food security at household level, among others.
He said that at least 4 250 women farmers and 85 clubs of which 10 percent are farmers with disabilities are benefitting from the project.
“The project has facilitated the formation of three cooperatives. These cooperatives have received training in food processing and value addition of crops such as groundnuts, soya and sunflower into peanut butter and oil; soya milk, yoghurt and soya pieces [relish]; and crude sunflower oil as well as grading, sorting and packaging of the products,” he explained.