Women farmers celebrate the International Day of Rural Women and the World Food Day in Gakh
13 October 2021
- This week the global community celebrates the International Day of Rural Women (15th October) and the World Food Day (16th October).
In Azerbaijan, as part of global awareness campaign, a series of events are being held to promote attention on the vital role that empowered female farmers, entrepreneurs and leaders need to play so that women can contribute on equal terms to establishing a sustainable agri-food systems, food security and rural/regional development.
On 13th October, a conference “Building Rural Women’s Resilience In The Wake of COVID-19” has been held in Gakh city located in the north of the country. The event brought together a diverse range of stakeholders to identify a role of women in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular in transforming agri-food systems as well as to learn about government’s support and international initiatives to empower women in rural places.
The events are organized jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Agrarian Credit and Development Agency (ACDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in close collaboration with the Azerbaijan Rural Women Association.
About 60 participants, mostly presented by beneficiaries of the two major projects – “Women’s Empowerment” of the FAO-Azerbaijan Partnership Programme (FAPP) and “Women in Associations” of the USAID Private Sector Activity Programme, as well as ARWA members attended the event that was held in Yurd Hotel.
At his welcome speech, Namig Mammadov, FAPP Programme Manager, stated: “Today, we pay tribute to all rural women, including farmers and community leaders, from different socio-economic backgrounds who work to lead the gender transformations, strengthen women’s resilience and make efforts to establish more inclusive society. Women's leadership is particularly important in rural areas, where women mainly work in household business and agriculture, having less access to resources and services than men, including land, finance, training, inputs and equipment. We believe that economic empowerment of women in rural places will contribute to shape more equitable future and ensure sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
USAID Private Sector Activity (PSA) Chief of Party David Blood noted: “These joint activities demonstrate the significance of supporting women's priorities in the economy and advocating for a strengthened business enabling environment for women leaders and entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan's agricultural sector. Our goal is to expand women’s economic empowerment through an increased role for women in Azerbaijani agribusiness entrepreneurship.”
Round-table discussions were organized on the topic “Women in Development” to explore the effects and opportunities of development programmes and projects on strengthening rural women's engagement and leadership to ensure that rural women's voices are heard.
Leyla Mammadova, ACDA Deputy Chairperson, emphasized the care and support provided by the government to women farmers: “Apart from subsidies and incentives to small and medium business owners, the Government of Azerbaijan provides various support tools and programs. At the same time, we collaborate with international organizations to encourage women to engage in entrepreneurship and realize their business ideas. We want to see economically strong women who are able to have their say in society. By benefiting from these projects, women will expand their businesses, and encourage other rural women in communities and even in other regions to start their entrepreneurial activities.”
Women entrepreneurs engaged in agri-food sector presented their products at the fair that was organized within the event as well as had a chance to exchange their experiences with each other.
Within the event, FAPP’s “Women Empowerment Project” awarded 9 women’s groups from Balakan, Zaqatala, Gakh, Shamakhi, İsmayilli and Shaki with computers, printers and modems, which will contribute to improve rural women’s computer literacy, access to information and digital marketing skills as well as help them to strengthen the independence of their businesses and increase their profits.