By Joshua Kato
Joyce Mugwanya, like most women does not own the land on which she practices her farming. The land is owned by her husband. The fact that most women do not own the land reduces their voice in controlling the earnings from that land and worse still, getting loans to improve farming on their farms. Margaret does her farming on a piece of land allocated to her by her husband. However, the allocation was done verbally, so in reality the husband still owns it. This means that she cannot use it to get money in the banks.
“Even if I wanted to get a bank loan, I cannot because I do not own the land on which I am farming,” she says. If Mugwanya had security, she would try accessing the Agricutural Credit Facility (ACF) for example. All that she would require is the security and a good farming plan. In most cases, security is the land on which the farmer is practicing farming. Unfortunately however, she does not own this land.
According to the 1998 Land Act, there are five recognized land tenure systems in Uganda. These are Mailo land ownership-were the owner has a land title and owns land indefinitely, the customary tenure system-were the land is owned communally, Freehold system, Leasehold system and Public land ownership.
Traditionally, land ownership is seen as a sign of strength in society and yet, women are not supposed to be strong members of a traditional society. In many tribes in Uganda, women do not own land.
“It is ironical that women own only a third of the land they use for agriculture,” says Stella Tereka, a gender researcher. This means that women cannot make big financial decisions about the money from the land.
And yet, according to Bbemba Joseph Paschal, Deputy Country Director, Sasakawa Africa Association, the role women and youth play in the agriculture sector in Uganda is big.
“Over the years, the proportion of females working in purely subsistence agriculture has remained higher than males,” he says. According to UBOS, there are 56.1% of women engaged in agriculture compared to 39.1% of men. Bbemba, together with his colleagues were addressing the country under a ‘sub theme’ ‘Inclusive Agriculture Extension Services; Escalating the opportunities for women and youth. This was one the sidelines of the National Agriculture Extension Week, that started on May 22 and ends on May 26.
David Wazemba, the Country Director, Sasakawa Africa Association explains that the group has over the years championed key turn farming interventions, many of which have targeted women and youth. “We note that vulnerable segments like women and youth need extra input when it comes to extension knowledge,” he said.
Sasakawa recommended that skills for youth and women should be escalated in the sector, opportunities for women and youth in a climate –smart, efficient, effective better funded agricultural extenstion service delivery system must also be promoted.
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