Sunday 29 November, 2020

Dominica's agriculture sector to advance gender awareness

Women’s involvement in Dominica’s agriculture sector is about to be enhanced as their experiences were brought to the fore during a gender awareness workshop.  

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently held the workshop with extension officers from Dominica’s Division of Agriculture.  

Officers were encouraged to draw from their field experiences to explore the differences between sex and gender and how this understanding influenced their work with female and male farmers.  

The purpose is to improve the knowledge, attitudes and skills of officers in order to create gender-responsive programming, reduce bias and advance gender awareness. 

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In Dominica the agriculture sector employs up to 40 per cent of the labour force, and it is estimated that males comprise 85 per cent of skilled agricultural and fishery workers, compared to 15 per cent of females.  

UNDP says studies suggest that men’s and women’s unequal participation in agriculture is linked to gender-based access to land, credit, extension services, other productive assets, gendered occupational segregation and differential wages.  

Men generally own larger parcels of land and are involved in larger scale agricultural production for export, and the rearing of large livestock.  

Women generally have access to smaller plots of land, are more involved in household food production, small scale vegetable production and the rearing of small livestock.  

The limited access to financing also undermines rural farmers, and in particular, women farmers and agricultural workers, from being able to expand into new markets and move beyond the bounds of the “working poor”, as such many of them have to engage in a range of other livelihood activities for support. 

The workshop is part of a three-year project led by the UNDP called “Strengthening the Disaster Management Capacity of Women in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and The Commonwealth of Dominica” (GUY/DOM) project with funding from the Government of Japan  

Gender sensitivity training is only one of many interventions this project will implement.  

Other interventions include:  

  • The Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) training to help farmers better utilise climate specific information to make informed decisions. 

  • The provision of two vehicles to support the work of the agriculture extension officers. 

  • Development of a micro-finance facility, crop insurance, procurement of tools.  

  • Training in the use of early warning systems. 

  • The provision of grants to farmers. 

 

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