Agriculture equipment manufacturers have been advised to produce women-friendly farming machines to attract more women into the sector.
Dr. Julius Gatune, Senior Researcher and Policy Advisor, Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) said women are restricted to the most difficult work, including weeding and planting.
The researcher bemoaned that most agricultural implements and equipment were manned by men, relegating women to do menial jobs in farming.
He suggested that women should be encouraged into machine operation by giving them the technical know-how in operating farm machines, to help increase productivity.
Dr. Gatune further said not only women be trained in machine operations, but also be given knowledge to become extension officers as in some parts of African, it is forbidden for male extension officers to interact with females.
He revealed that annually, $68 billion was used by the Africa continent to import food most of which he said could be produced in Africa.
“Achieving gender balance in farming is having access to land, access to cheap technologies and inputs, access to digital access, micro-finance and basic savings and loans, more women as extension officers and more innovative training programmes for them,” he added.
He said Africa had closed to 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable lands, round sunshine for long growing seasons, expanding markets for foods and the youthful population.
Dr. Gatune gave said agricultural transformation included two processes – modernising farming by boosting productivity and running farms as modern business, as well as strengthening the links between farms and other economic sectors and in mutually beneficial process whereby farm output supports manufacturing (through agro-processing) and other sectors support farming by modern manufactured inputs and services.
He however, said, there were challenges in accessing land and security of tenure, low farm productivity, farming not profitable, low access to inputs and output markets and finance, weak value chains; storage, transport and aging farming population.
“We have to also fill-in the missing middle-educated youth; farmer education, finance and input, warehouse receipt system and storage, export markets certification-cold storage at airport, processors, supermarkets and government food procurement, large contract farmers.”