BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Lands ministry has urged more women to participate in farming activities in order to address gender inequalities in the agricultural sector.
This was said by Lands ministry secretary John Bhasera on Monday when he appeared before the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Gender to speak on command agriculture and the Pfumvudza programme.
Bhasera said 53% of plots under the Pfumvudza programme were being run by women, while only 29% of women farmers participated in the command agriculture programme.
He said the statistics showed that Matabeleland North province had the least number of women (10%) who participated in the command agriculture programme, while Manicaland province had the highest with 34%.
“Women make significant contributions to food production. They are almost entirely responsible for virtually all activities such as hoeing, weeding, harvesting, processing and marketing,” Bhasera said.
“By so doing, they contribute substantially to national agricultural output and household food security. However, the role of women in these activities, so important economically, has remained obscure because women rarely play any major roles in decision-making processes. They are constrained in several ways by social and cultural norms that limit their participation in development programmes.”
He said women constituted 52% of the population, hence they should be proportionally represented in every sector.
Bhasera added that the Lands ministry would adopt a 50-50 quota system to enhance full participation of women.
He4 said the ministry will also launch a women’s desk to ensure more women participation.
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