Keynote address by dm1 at coraf side event final


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Keynote address by dm1 at coraf side event final

  1. 1. KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY SIERRA LEONE’S HONORABLE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FOOD SECURITY, HONORABLE MADAM MARIE JALLOH, AT THE CORAF/WECARD SIDE EVENT, SIXTH AFRICA AGRICULTURE SCIENCE WEEK, JULY 16, 2013 Honorable Chairperson/Moderator; My Honorable Minister of Agriculture from Sierra Leone, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay; The Executive Director of CORAF/WECARD, Dr. Harold Roy-Macauley, and all staff of CORAF/WECARD; Representative from the World Bank; Director Generals of all National Agricultural Research Systems here present, and their respective staff; Coordinators of WAAPP Project Coordination Units and their staff, Gender Focal Points from all countries, Environmental Focal Points: It gives me the greatest pleasure to participate in this very important side event, and to deliver this keynote address. When I was contacted by CORAF/WECARD to assume this distinguished role, I saw it as a great opportunity to share my thoughts on the subject not only from the perspective of a woman, but also from the perspective of one who has seen the hardworking women of Sierra Leone and Africa toil to establish their rightful place in the agricultural sector and the development agendas of their respective countries. It is refreshing to realize that institutions such as CORAF/WECARD are championing the course of putting WOMEN at the heart of agricultural development in Africa. There is no gainsaying the fact that women can no longer be relegated to the back, in our effort to develop the agricultural sector, given the crucial role women play in all farm- related activities from land preparation to marketing. CORAF/WECARD VISION is to contribute to sustainable reduction in food insecurity and poverty in west and central Africa further improving research systems in the sub-region. Its general objective is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of small-scale producers and promote agri-business sector and therefore puts the producers and the end users at the center of
  2. 2. research. Women globally makeup over 60% of producers in the agric. Sector, which is their main thrust of livelihood and income support. Therefore the role of women producers in the implementation of the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme cannot be underestimated. The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) is designed mainly to promote regional cooperation in the generation, dissemination and adoption of agricultural technologies, for which at least 40% of the beneficiaries are expected to be women. However, beyond being beneficiaries, women producers are also critical actors in driving the overall implementation of the WAAPP program. I wish to push this discourse forward by looking at the potential roles of women producers within the different components of WAAPP. Within the first component of WAAPP, which focuses on sub-regional cooperation in the generation and adoption of technologies, women can be very instrumental in shaping opinions of policy makers and legislators in designing policies and regulations that would make it easier for the sharing of technologies across countries. Furthermore more women producers can adopt and improve their technologies through capacity building and adaptations. In such situations, women producers in the sub-region can benefit both men and women farmers through exchange visits within countries in the sub-region to share success stories and adapt new or improved technologies. In addition, women producers can also be very useful in the design and implementation gender action plans, Information Communication and Technology and they will also take advantage of the benefits derived from farmer-farmer peer mentoring and other engagements.
  3. 3. However, for women producers to be highly effective in the Implementation of WAAPP, serious considerations of the special needs of women producers and processors can serve as important inputs to researchers and scientists in this 21st century which features the Women’s Agenda Gaining Momentumworldwide and African region to be specific. More gender friendly technologies that will enable women to play active roles in the implementation of the national centers of specialization that will eventually be transformed to Centers of excellence of which the female gender have the potential for adoption and expansion. Moreover, women as producers, has a major role to play in creating synergies amongst countries in the sub-regions through transfer and adoption of technologies and further will also a have a tendency to increase their space in research activities. To be confirmed Also in achieving the MDG goal nos 1, Reduce hunger and eradication of poverty. Three (3) achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, MDG Seven and eight places women producers at the center (being the critical mass) can be players and actors in WAAPP implementation in the West African countries. Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, it should be noted that, however, that for meaningful results, the needs of women farmers should be determined not from the comfort of research institutions/centers, but by sustained engagements with women producers throughout the various stages of the research process and also make provisions to placed them in hierarchy of the decision-making levels in the different WAAPPprogrammes implemented in the sub-region. In this way, women producers would fully appreciate their role not simply as beneficiaries of research and extension activities, but as active players and participants in the process, thereby increasing the chances for technology adoption.
  4. 4. In conclusion Mr. Chairperson, inorder to achieve success in major WAAPP objectives, it therefore calls for the need for an agricultural research and extension agenda which effectively integrates gender issues into the processes of technology generation and dissemination. It also furthermore calls for the need to develop gender strategies to make women more active participants and decision-makers at all levels in agric. Production and socio-economic development process. I end by leaving you with a food for thought“ If you want a job to done give it to men, but if want one thousand jobs to be done give it to women, they will produce better results.” Ladies and Gentlemen here present, I thank you for your attention.