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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.