Gender inequality in the agriculture industry

Posted by Bonny James M on

In Tanzania, women play a crucial role in the agriculture industry and contribute more than 70% of the manual labour. But men have historically been simply involved in selling the produce (Coffee, Cashews etc.) and deciding how to distribute and spend the gains. The income from selling the produce is often above 40 percent lower for females.

Richlandhub works with rural small-scale coffee and Cashew farmers to improve their livelihoods and work to promote gender equality and joint decision making in the families.

That’s why we've created Project Sharity, privately funded through business profit, an effort designed to help Tanzanian women obtain educational opportunities through tuition assistance, leadership development, and community engagement within an inclusive environment. The 2021-2024 initiative target is to improve the livelihood and increase opportunities for over 120 rural women from the ages of 18 to 40 in the communities from the Southern Highlands to the far North-east part of the country.

Historically, it has been difficult for Tanzanian women to obtain educational empowerment; however, through social projects like Project Sharity, women are able to obtain an education and earn income for themselves and their families.

Challenges

Small-scale farmers in Tanzania typically have low yields and a lack of access to financing for investments into farming activities.  Additionally, many households face food insecurity, relying on produce as a main source of income to support families.

(i)   Due to the lack of financial literacy, farmers tend to have limited understanding of their household and farming finances, spending most of the earnings from farming within a short period, without considering expenses in the rest of the year. Thusly, food may need to be bought later in the season against higher prices, frequently bought through a loan.

(ii)    Also, there tends to be limited involvement and influence of women in the business processes, despite the fact that they are responsible for most of the farming activities and for investments into future production and the family.

 To help overcome some of these challenges for farmers in the region, Richlandhub has partnered with cooperatives and other local unions to facilitate farmers' access to different services and training. Provide feedback, traceability mechanism, environmental management, social responsibility, economic sustainability education and create market linkages with buyers to consumers.

 Currently, Richlandhub is directly buying coffee and cashews from 12 registered Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS), which have proven to be reliable partners.

Gender inequality is an important subject, fortunately, many entities are making efforts to address and implementing the necessary changes to trying to close the gender gap.

At Richalandhub, although we are a profitable organization, we are mission focused, and addressing the importance of the community's economic, social sustainability, lack of women in leadership and the lack of influence of women on making decisions regarding investments into farming are the most consequential matters for the households.

Mamsera Cooperative, a women-led group with over 1,100 members, from the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, this Rural Cooperative Society is at the heart of community life in this coffee-growing village.    Meet Mary Shayo, who is the Mamsera AMCOS - Secretary manager. She oversees the community programs, workshops teaching members how to improve quality and production, environmental sustainability, as well as gender issues, and aims to improve gender equality in the region and get paid a fair price for their produce.  When women are involved in leadership roles, they address more of the issues that are important for the community. Mary Shayo is the influential secretary and a star.

In a nutshell, women are not given the same opportunities for resources as their male counterparts. Therefore, gender equality is not only a right, but a necessary base for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world, and to solve many economic challenges.

 These women's stories inspire us every day to do our part and continue sharing with you excellent cups of coffee, We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy sharing it with you.

-Asante sana

 

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