Gender Issues in Agriculture innovative System (AIS)

Women notably rural women have a central role to play in Agriculture, rural Development and food security. So AIS should take into account this issue. In spite all traditional considerations and others discrimination against women in west and central Africa, they feel progressively themselves involved to the development of their areas (poverty alleviation). They are now advised and conscious of their contribution to achieving these goals.

Since 1990 after economic crisis and devaluation of FCFA (1994), there is an emergence of Non governmental Organization, Associations, and Projects acting for rural women empowering. By this action, we observed that the number of women farmer organizations goes increase. For example, in west Cameroon, a small village called “Nka’a” has about 1500 habitants with 36 farmer’s organizations among which 12 are exclusively for women with and average of 25 members. These 12 farmers organization are responsible of the production of 80-90% of food production in areas notably: roots and tubers (cocoyam, yams, and cassava), grain (maize, beans), market garden (tomatoes, cabbage, celery, sweet pepper, leek and pepper). While men exclusively involved in crops like coffee and produce about 80% of banana,

By this we concluded that innovative systems should consider all these variables. Men are a head of farm family and have a last word in decision making. So this position can be used in innovative systems to benefit the entire family. We can also use men to sensitize women and vice versa. For example, in Northern Cameroun, when we want to popularized an agricultural innovation, Men and women are trained separately but Men are those we use to inform their wife for the training session before and the goals to achieved. During the session, the trainer of women is a woman and we observed a full participation of the women targeted. When some men are absent we use women to persuade their husbands for the necessity of their presence as head of family. This gives satisfactory results. I want to emphasize that we used this method because in this region, women are forbid to speak among men (traditional considerations).

To conclude, all intervention in rural areas likes agriculture innovative systems should not neglect a question of gender issues. Because AIS is for all category of farmers and their full participation at all steps is require. So they should be implicated without nevertheless break down their customs and traditions.

The full contribution of this can be found on FAO web site an email conference on agricultural innovative systems and farming family: www.fao_ais.org or www.fao.org/oek/research-extension-systems/ais-ff/econf/en and www.fao.org/fileadm/user_upload/oekr/pdf/aismsgs.pdf

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