Pioneering African Women In Feed And Fodder Sector Ignites A Trailblazing Path For Others
Posted by Joseph Muraya on 28 July 2023 12:30 PM CAT
Against all odds, women are defying convention and spearheading a groundbreaking revolution in the feed and fodder sector- which has for long been male dominated.
With tenacity and innovation, a group of women from across Africa are breathing new life into the feed and fodder sector as well as livestock production and reshaping the course of their communities’ and countries’ economic future.
The sector is currently facing a major crisis due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, global COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
In the shadows of these challenges and adversities, some women are emerging as catalysts of change in the crucial feed and fodder sector.
Some of the women playing a crucial role in the sector are at the ongoing African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) workshop in Kenya- where a high-level discussion on how to cushion member states and empower women is ongoing.
AU-IBAR has initiated an ambitious project dubbed Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) project, to help targeted African countries overcome the challenge.
Among the experts attending the five-day workshop is Prof. Sonia Bedhiaf-Romdhani from Tunisia.
She is the Continental President for Africa Women in Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N) and a Senior Researcher in Animal Breeding in Tunisia.
She is among experts rooting for more involvement of women in the feed and fodder sector by providing an enabling environment and regulatory framework to support them in animal resources farming and agribusiness.
“We want women to venture beyond livestock keeping by building their capacity in managing livestock, feeding them correctly to produce quality products and value addition for the animal products,” she said.
“This way, they will generate more income and have better livelihoods.”
One of the key challenges that Prof Sonia has identified as a key constraint to participating in the livestock sector is the bottleneck of the poor access to appropriate and sustainable financing mechanisms that address women’s felt needs tailored to their capacities.
“Our Governments must make financial inclusion work for women,” she said.
“There is inadequate financial inclusion for women. We need policies and laws that will support women.”
To break the cycle of poverty and inequalities, AU-IBAR has been advocating for the development and implementation of policies and legal frameworks that create a wider array of opportunities for women in the feed and fodder sector- which will lead to their economic empowerment for the inclusive and sustainable development of the continent.
“The current crisis has affected accessibility for feed and fodder for African countries. We now have to rely on our own human resources to produce it and enhance self-reliance within the sector,” she said during an interview with this reporter.
“This is actually a blessing in disguise. We must make our systems work and become self-reliant.”