July 17, 2024

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UN-Zanzibar launch $5m agriculture project

2 min read

Funded by Norway and Sweden, the US$ 5 million agriculture project will benefit more than 8,000 rural women in Singida, Dodoma, and Zanzibar. It will help to secure their livelihoods, through resilience, in the agriculture sector.

Background of the project

In Tanzania, smallholder farmers produce food. Women account for the majority of the labor force and earn 80 percent of their income from subsistence farming. Unfortunately, gender inequalities rooted in discriminatory patriarchal systems and social norms. These hinder women from accessing agricultural extension services, markets, land, and formal financial services.

Speaking at the launch, Hon Suleiman Masoud Makame, Minister of Blue Economy and Fisheries said, “Gender equality is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Tanzania recognizes this and has adopted policies that advance gender equality. As a government we recognize and appreciate the continued partnership by the UN in Tanzania to support our efforts towards advancing gender equality, especially in the agriculture sector. This joint program by FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women is a demonstration of this continued support.”

Objectives of the agriculture project

The agriculture program will build women’s capacity for climate-smart agriculture to respond to climate crisis challenges. These disproportionately affect them due to their reduced access to agricultural resources, lack of decision-making authority, and weak adaptation strategies.

“It is clear that rural women are facing a number of challenges. These are impacting their ability to increase their productivity and incomes. We need to step up our support both now and into the future to help address these challenges. In addition, support rural women’s pathways to progress,” said Sima Bahous, Executive Director, UN Women.  

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic also impacted the agricultural sector and local food systems through restricted market access and increased costs of inputs. The program will provide business development, leadership training, and access to markets for self-help groups. This will be through supporting existing and new Village Savings and Loans Associations to become officially registered and access financing.

Also read about Rwanda-EU cooperation deal here

“The launch of this joint program is timely. It comes at a time when the agriculture sector faces a myriad of challenges. The collaboration between the four UN agencies – FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women, brings together specialist expertise in agriculture, rural development, and gender. These are key to addressing the challenges and building resilience. The time for action is now,” said Sarah Gordon-Gibson, WFP Country Director and Representative. Sarah was speaking on behalf on behalf of the implementing agencies. 

The project in Tanzania is part of the second phase of a global program also being implemented in Nepal, Niger, the Pacific Island and Tunisia. The first phase of the programme was launched in 2014 in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda.

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania, October 12, 2022/. Today, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and UN Women launched a five-year program, the Accelerating Progress Towards Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment project.

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