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Soroti Women Want Govt to Do More on Agriculture :: Uganda Radionetwork

Soroti Women Want Govt to Do More on Agriculture

A section of women in Soroti district wants government to focus on putting more emphasis on agriculture as the only means of boosting their financial capacity.

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A section of women in Soroti district wants government to focus on putting more emphasis on agriculture as the only means of boosting their financial capacity.

The women want government to provide them with agro-inputs and seeds to enable them engage in large-scale farming as they prepare to start planting this first season.

Most farmers in Soroti district still use hand hoe to farm followed by the ox-plough which is still common among few households with relatively stable finances.

Helen Akecho, a resident of Arapai Sub County says government should provide special support to women in agriculture. Akecho says all her farming activities are often crippled as a result of inadequate capacity to embark on large-scale commercial agriculture.

To supplement her finance, Akecho resorted to brewing gin locally known as ‘Ajono'.

Anna Adong, a market vendor in Soroti market wants the government to consider supporting initiatives of low income women.

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Adong says such women are often neglected from various programmes including the current women entrepreneurship fund which is not easily accessible.

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The Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) is a 53-billion shilling government initiative aimed at increasing women's competitive edge in the business sector.

Launched in early 2016, the programme is to support women in the micro, small and medium enterprise sub-sector through provision of interest-free credit, technical advice for appropriate technologies, value addition and market information.

Juliet Aribo, a produce retailer in Soroti town wants government to consider long term solutions to supporting both rural and elite women. Aribo claims rural and non-educated women can only be supported through agriculture.

Joyce Alum, a female representative of Western division to the Municipal council wants government to shift focus to rural women involved in farming. Alum argues that rural and uneducated women are often excluded from various programmes in rural areas yet they are key in agriculture.

She wants the government to provide them with simple technologies like ox ploughs to back their farming activities.

Once supported and empowered by the government, Beatrice Among, 37, also a farmer in Asuret Sub County is optimistic that women will be able to eradicate poverty from their families.

Cecilia Engole, the Coordinator of Teso Women Peace Activists (TEWPA) says once supported by the government to embark on commercial farming, women can then become financially stable and independent.

Engole, a commercial farmer, says it requires government's special intervention in order for majority of women to get involved in large-scale farming.

The district has been receiving rains for the last three weeks.

Women in Uganda constitute 51% of the population estimated at 34.9 million according to the 2014 Population and Housing census. They also form 53% of the 11.5 million economically active population.

According to the ministry of gender, less than 12% of economically active women are in paid employment; the remainder are either self-employed or contribute to unpaid family labour. Even in paid employment, women are more likely than men to be in low-status, less paying jobs.

A 2014 World Bank report says women make up more than half of Uganda's agricultural workforce, and a higher proportion of women than men work in farming—76 percent versus 62 percent. 

The report by the World Bank Group and the ONE Campaign, Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, studied differences between how much men and women farmers produce in six African countries including Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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