On the occasion of the 2020 International Women’s Day, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) joins the global community to celebrate the highly adaptable women of science, farmers, agri-preneurs, researchers, leaders, policy makers and many more, who have greatly contributed to advancing AR4D in Africa and beyond.
This IWD marks important milestones in Agricultural Research for Development on the continent, through the launch of the CAADP XP4 with gender mainstreaming at the heart of FARA’s activities. In an effort to maintain momentum and scale-up actions towards empowering women on the continent, FARA launched the Agricultural Research Innovation Fellowship in Africa (ARIFA) targeting 50% participation of younger women. This will provide a platform to promote investment in Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) as well as expand access to education, apprenticeships, finance, business and employment opportunities for young women and young men in Agricultural Research for Development across the continent.
Furthermore, FARA believes that the youth are the key to unlocking Africa’s potential through creative disruption. Through its gender mainstreaming efforts, and in partnership with global youth initiatives such as Young Professionals in Agricultural Research & Development (YPARD) we wish to acknowledge that the roles played individually and collectively by women at various life stages, in the workplaces, households, marketplaces, universities, laboratories, board rooms and government agencies, have helped towards making Africa food and nutrition secure over the years. Women constitute 70% of the work force in the agricultural sector in Africa and 10% in basic food processing. They also carry out 60 to 90% of the total rural marketing, which is mostly through informal channels.
It is therefore imperative that we work hard to create a market space and engagement strategy towards achieving gender parity and to ensure that women and men have access to equal opportunities within Africa’s food system.
Today, we call all of us to work together towards enhancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls to attain their full potentials. During the 8th Africa Agricultural Science Week in Accra in June 2020, we shall further explore the prospects of gender mainstreaming into the Science Agenda for Africa’s agriculture.
As core stakeholders in the match towards realising the vision of the Africa we want, FARA celebrates African women in AR4D and will continue to mainstream gender by strengthening its engagement with women and girls across the Africa’s AR4D fraternity.