By Rosemary Wachiye
Bungoma County rural women farmers have been urged to undertake profitable and sustainable agricultural enterprises with a view to improve their livelihoods.
Speaking during the County rural women farmers day held at Mabanga Agricultural Training Centre on June 14, Gender, Culture, Youth and Sports CEC Everlyn Kakai appreciated rural women for playing a critical role in agricultural production.
“There is something special about women, they never give up, they do their best to move a step ahead for the sake of the society at large. When you empower a woman you empower the society,” said Kakai.
She revealed the plans by the Department to offer grants to women farmers who will be taken through training and capacity building to ensure prudent utilization of funds for their growth. Additionally, she called upon women farmers to set up sustainable projects that will earn them an opportunity to be awarded by the County Government under the Governor’s Women Support initiative that recognizes and awards efforts of best performing women groups annually.
“This year during the International Women’s Day, Governor Wycliffe Wangamati awarded women groups for exemplary performance, I therefore wish to challenge the women present here today to do their best to be awarded next year,” said Ms. Kakai.
She stated that the County Department of Gender, Culture, Youth and Sports is mandated to ensure gender mainstreaming in other Ministries such as agriculture which incorporates women. She added that the Department will ensure that issues affecting women are integrated in County policies and bills.
On the other hand, County Executive Committee member for Agriculture, Livsetock, Fisheries, Irrigation and Cooperative development Mr. Mathews Wanjala confirmed the County government’s commitment towards empowering farmers in agricultural production and urged the women to undertake and benefit from the projects.
He said the County Government recently launched Irish potatoes project at Kibingei. There are plans to start a program of supplying 2 Million coffee seeds per year which has started in Kaptola, Khasoko in Bumula and will soon distribute it across the County.
“Dairy farming has not been left out either, the County Government intends to put up dairy coolers in every ward of Bungoma County,” said Mr.Wanjala.
The Director Women Farmers’ Association of Kenya (WOFAK) Daphine Muchai highlighted the role played by the organization to identify solutions to challenges that hinder women farmers from practicing agri-business.
She further said that the organization which was initiated in 2017 assists the government to meet food security in the country and create wealth for its citizenry. The organization is anchored under three pillars that is capacity building, mentorship and wealth creation through agri-business.
The president of the Baverian Women Farmers’ Association in Germany Dr. Andrea Forse stated that they support rural women farmers because the two groups both practice farming but in two different worlds.
“We share the same experiences and we want to empower women to be involved in decision making in social, economic and political matters,” said Dr. Andrea.
She urged the County Government of Bungoma to support WOFAK organization and work together to improve the livelihood of women farmers in Bungoma.
Chief Officer for Gender and Culture Safia Awil affirmed the Department’s commitment towards ensuring the food security agenda is attained owing to the fact that it is among the big four agenda of the government of Kenya.
“We support this initiative since agriculture empowers women thus fulfilling our core mandate as a department which is to advocate for women issues,” said Ms. Awil.