By Aloysious Kasoma
Despite the available government programs like Emyooga and Parish Development Model (PDM), women doing agriculture still face challenges accessing the funds.
Speaking at the 4th Women in Agriculture Conference held at Hotel Africana on Monday (October 31), several groups of women from different parts of the country said that there are cultural barriers that reinforce gender division.
“The female-headed households did not benefit because they had no collateral or security to access loans because in some areas culture does not allow a woman to own property,” one group submitted during a brainstorming session.
The women, in their recommendations, asked the ministry of gender to address gender barriers and cultural stereotypes and create space for mentoring after evaluating all the government programs.
According to Hakim Baliraine, the ESAFF National Chairperson, the challenge women have over time starts with family, culture, and religious beliefs.
He said that these have hindered resources over time and they require a holistic approach, especially to women doing agriculture.
“It has taken us trouble to dialogue with religious leaders and cultural institutions like in some parts of northern Uganda where women don’t own land,” he said.
Baliraine said that the government policies are very good but they don’t capture all the areas that require critical thinking in women.
“Microfinance Support Center is a government arm and all the resources are channelled accordingly but there are no specific SACCOs for women. Emyooga is about enterprises and PDM has highlighted that 30% goes to women but the modality is where there is a challenge,” he explained.
Sarah Mirembe Namuyomba, an official from MSC said that the government is encouraging women’s financial inclusion and financial independence through the Emyooga program under the category of Women entrepreneurs with refreshment business development services.
“We at MSC encourage sustainable support to women in agriculture for an economic and social transformation putting all efforts together. The market is usually low because of inadequate valve addition, mainly male-dominated and low incomes among the women,” she pointed.
The conference was under the theme: Gender and Trade organized by the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (EASFF) Uganda.