The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Government of Japan are set to empower African women and youth in Agriculture.
The FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa (SFE) and the Japanese Government Mission to the African Union have launched a subregional project, aimed at creating employment for women and youth in six East African countries.
The project, themed; Promoting Employment and Entrepreneurship Opportunities among Women and Youth in Agriculture and Agribusiness in Eastern Africa, is being implemented in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda.
According to the sponsors, the initiative would also facilitate and ensure enhanced knowledge and application of digital solutions in agri-food systems with a particular focus on women and youth.
Africa and Representative to the AU and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), David Phiri, explained that the Eastern Africa subregion was home to 50 percent of the high food insecure population of the whole of Africa.
According to him, aiding the subregion meant supporting the whole of Africa, adding that the subregion was experiencing stress due to multiple shocks, such as desert locust infestation, climate-induced shocks, conflicts and political instability, and socio-economic strains.
The COVID-19 pandemic, Phiri noted, posed additional risks, which significantly compromised the livelihoods of millions of people, particularly the youth and women.
FAO empowering African women and youth in Agriculture
Speaking on the project, he said, “This project, which supports nations to explore new ways to tap into their youthful, energetic, innovative and industrious resources by creating opportunities for jobs, where agriculture is the most viable sector, is one of the timeliest engagements of FAO and the Government of Japan.”
On his part, the Ambassador of Japan to the African Union, Horiuchi Toshihiko, affirmed that the Japanese Government was glad to work with FAO in addressing food security challenges in Eastern Africa, where the livelihoods of millions of people are highly dependent on agriculture.
He said, “Agriculture and food security are a fundamental basis of all socio-economic activities, and hence they will be the priority agenda of TICAD8 – the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development – to be held this year.”
Furthermore, Ambassador Toshihiko described the project as a catalyst to foster ongoing efforts to improve the agri-food systems through agricultural transformation.
“This project is very relevant to the subregion in the sense that it focuses on women and youth, realising that women make up half of the population and provide over 40 percent of the labour force in crop and livestock production.
“A subregion is also a place, where a significant percentage of the population is young, which is a great potential for agri-food system transformation,” he added.