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2014 ICRISAT`s Year of Gender, Rural women farmers as drivers of progress

Engaging with rural women farmers for technology dissemination and value chain development was the focus of the United Nations’ regional “Sharefair for Rural Women’s Technologies” held in Nairobi, Kenya. ICRISAT was represented by Dr Esther Njuguna-Mungai, Scientist – Gender Research, CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes, and two women innovators of the ‘Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement’ (HOPE) Project.

ICRISAT http://www.icrisat.org/newsroom/latest-news/happenings/happenings1649.htm#3  
 

Engaging with rural women farmers for technology dissemination and value chain development was the focus of the United Nations’ regional “Sharefair for Rural Women’s Technologies” held in Nairobi, Kenya. ICRISAT was represented by Dr Esther Njuguna-Mungai, Scientist – Gender Research, CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes, and two women innovators of the ‘Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement’ (HOPE) Project.

 

Some highlights of the discussions were:

  • - Focus on consulting women about their views when working in research and development; giving women’s voice an opportunity in agricultural conversations
  • - Ensuring tools are designed and developed that can ease the burden of labor for women, especially the smallholder farming systems that are currently labor intensive and dominated by women
  • - Connecting the dots in agriculture and nutrition conversations
  • - Linking women farmers to agricultural finance; promoting development of investment ideas so that finance is an enabler
  • - Women’s participation in decision making process that influences investments into agriculture
  • - Women’s participation in data collection, interpretation and retention in their communities, to avoid the ‘pirate approach’ in data collection
  • - Consideration of farmers’ adoption curve, packaging information to suit different categories of farmers to enhance innovations and adoption of technologies;
  • - Review agricultural curriculum in universities and other academic institutions to accommodate the dynamics in the field, and train graduates to add value.

 

Two women farmers working with ICRISAT on the HOPE project demonstrated the possibilities of empowerment through agriculture. Ms Esther Moshi, from Tanzania displayed different value added products that her group – JAGEF - makes from sorghum which is high in micronutrients. Some of the products include sorghum composite flour, snacks and wine, which were key in informing the participants of the potential of sorghum not only as a food crop but also as an industrial crop.

 

Mrs Margaret Osuru, a finger millet farmer from Kenya, demonstrated how to make value-added products from finger millet, which is naturally high in calcium, including buns, chapatti, millet flakes while sharing their key nutritional values.

 

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