Ruth Butaumocho Gender Editor
Government will distribute farming equipment and inputs to women throughout Zimbabwe to prop up their farming activities, a Cabinet minister has said.
Addressing thousands of women who gathered in Harare yesterday for a pre-Budget consultative meeting, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Cde Nyasha Chikwinya said women were the backbone of farming and needed funding and equipment to sustain their activities. She said tractors and seed would soon be availed to women farmers before the onset of the rains.
“We already have tractors from Belarus, India and China which we will need to distribute to the women, so that they can scale up their efforts in farming. No one can doubt that our women farmers have contributed significantly to agriculture.
“They do not only have numerical advantage, but they have been consistent farmers, who are dedicated and committed to the advancement of farming in Zimbabwe,” she said.
She added that her ministry would soon approach the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to second a technical team to the gender ministry that will assist in implementing several programmes in agriculture.
The expertise shared will ensure that women would be fully capitated to incorporate agro-processing, which has become crucial as the country moves towards full beneficiation.
“We want you to take agriculture to another level. You should start thinking of processing products from your crops, so that you will continue to contribute meaningfully to agriculture,” she said.
Cde Chikwinya called on women’s organisations and stakeholders to forward accurate figures on women in agriculture to her ministry to ensure that no one would be left out from the distribution of farming inputs and equipment.
In the event that the equipment and inputs were not adequate, Cde Chikwinya said her ministry would broker a deal with companies that manufacture farming equipment so that women would be able to purchase the tractors and other machinery at concessionary prices.
“Go back and organise yourselves and be strategically positioned for this farming equipment. You know you are many, but we want everyone to benefit,” she said.
The pre-Budget consultative meeting, which drew women from all the provinces, including members of the Gender Commission, was organised by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe.