European Development Days 2018
CTA in collaboration with the ACP Secretariat, the European Commission, TradeCom II, the Panafrican Farmers Organisation (PAFO) and Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI), organized a lab debate on ‘’Going Digital: Sustainable development in agriculture for women: supporting women’s access to ICTs for agriculture and promoting’’, on June 5 during the European Development Days 2018 in Brussels.
This lab presented digitalisation opportunities for women and by women in agriculture and discussed how they can be leveraged for improved livelihoods.
The gender gaps in access to ICTs are still widening despite the advancements in digitalisation. Women are 14% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, and 25 % fewer women and girls use the internet. This means female farmers, particularly in rural areas, often experience difficulties accessing relevant information, financial products and services and markets.
The lab highlighted the following points:
- Women have significantly less access to effective technologies to be more effective farmers, the main reason being a lack of available funds, cultural and social limitations, lower education levels, inadequate gender-responsive ICT policies and time constraints.
- The critical areas to tackle to reduce the digital and gender gap are access to appropriate technology, skills training, engagement with the private sector and gender sensitive ICT policies.
- There is a need for developing innovative but sustainable ICT services that can be scaled up for more impact.
- Investment decisions relevant to women and agriculture will need to be made soon for the next seven-year EU budgetary period.
Getting it right could pay off massively: some estimates say 100-150 million people could be lifted out of poverty through a 20 % to 30 % increase in productivity. Over EUR 50 billion has been spent on development as part of the current EU budget period. Ensuring that support is given to farmers, particularly women farmers, as part of the investments are key.
“The value of supporting women in agriculture is known and proven. It is time to move on beyond the studies, and to start working with EU partners to scale-up and expand successful approaches,” said Linda Mc’Avan, panellist and Member of the European Parliament.
Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant Secretary-General, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States speaking at the event: “The role of policymakers is to identify and scale up the initiatives that are working in the field. Some of the limitations facing women in agriculture have strong opportunity to be addressed through ICT solutions.”
“At CTA, we are committed to shaping the move to next-generation farming in ACP countries, and this mandate will only be fulfilled by investing in women and girls. We believe that now, more than ever, it is essential to empower women with the right innovative and digital tools to transform their rural communities. This is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” Michael Hailu, Director, CTA
– Christopher Addison: Sr Programme Coordinator, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
– Rose Funja: Managing Director, Agrinfo Company Limited
– Viwanou Gnassounou: Assistant Secretary General at ACP Secretariat, Sustainable Economic Development and Trade Department
– Michael Hailu: Director, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
– Naledi Magowe: Co-Founder CMO Brastorne Enterprises
– Linda McAvan: Chair of the Committee on Development, European Parliament
– Gillian Stewart: Program Manager, Women in Business Development Incorporated