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Policy Makers Discuss Strategies to Address Gender Stereotypes in Agribusiness

During the public policy dialogue organized by Uganda Management Institute (UMI) in partnership with Feed the Future, USAID, it was noted that stereotypical gender dynamics is one of the biggest challenges facing food security in Uganda. Stakeholders together with policy makers on Thursday convened to devise strategies that will help in addressing gender dynamics in the execution of agricultural extension services. These pointed out that at household and community level, the women and children continue to compete for survival against the interests of their husbands and fathers whose survival interests transcend the household including; recreational, social status and political interests at the expense of the family.

In his keynote address, Hon. Bwino Fred Kyakulaga, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) noted that while women provide 70% of the labour force that engages in agricultural production, they control less than 20% of the output. He further said that while the government is mindful of gender issues in the policies, programs and interventions, there is a gap in practice.

Dr. Kasozi S. Mulindwa, Director of Programmes and Students Affairs at Uganda Management Institute commended the government for being part of coordinating gender-responsive issues, noting that the dialogue will go a long way in informing policymakers on the best solutions aimed at addressing gender issues while executing agricultural extension services.

Anthony Nyungu, Chief of Party, Feed the Future noted that the dialogue is timely because they are in the final stages in their partnership with MAAIF, to have the reviewed National Agricultural Extension Strategy. “We are also supporting several agencies to develop gender strategies, including MAAIF, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and others. So, the output of this dialogue becomes a very important input on the ongoing work we are partnering with various agencies,” he said.

A study titled ‘Gender and Agriculture Extension Services; Implications for Income and Food Security in Uganda’ revealed that agricultural extension services in Uganda are generally not gender-responsive since they do not address the underlying causes of gender inequality. “As a result of this; the productivity gender gap has persisted even when several extension reforms have been implemented and women have continued to obtain low incomes from their agricultural activities."

Among the key recommendations, Dr. Narisi Mubangizi, School of Agriculture, Makerere University noted that culturally and socially engrained patriarchal bondage to women’s and youth’s access and use of key productive assets especially land should be addressed. He said that this can be through deliberate efforts to create awareness among males of all age groups about the impacts of gender inequalities in access to, control, use of and benefit from productive assets. “Institutions and enforcement of laws and policies that promote gender equality in terms of productivity assets are also needed as well as the popularization of the existing laws related to asset ownerships and use so that the common person can clearly understand them and demand for their rights,” he stressed.
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