Oct 02

Women and Agriculture Summit: leveraging technology and innovation to unlock the potential of agriculture and value addition

Press Release

The Women and Agriculture Summit, held under the theme “Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Unlock the Potential of Agriculture and Value Addition,” concluded successfully with a powerful Keynote address by Hon. Lucia Iipumbu, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade. The summit, organized by Ms. Paulina Mbango, alongside event partners Namfarmers, NAFSAN and Energy100, brought together over 200 stakeholders, experts, and leaders in the agricultural sector to address crucial issues and pave the way for a more equitable and sustainable agricultural future.

Hon. Lucia Iipumbu, in her keynote address, acknowledged the significant role that women play in agriculture and their potential to transform not only rural communities but also the entire nation’s economy. She highlighted that women have been the backbone of the agricultural sector, particularly in substance farming, and stressed the importance of women’s participation in commercialized agricultural activities to derive income.

Food security was a central topic of discussion during the summit, with Hon. Iipumbu emphasizing that it goes beyond providing enough food for the population. It’s about ensuring that everyone has access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food, leaving no one hungry.

The Minister further acknowledged the challenges faced by the agricultural sector in recent years, such as climate change, erratic weather patterns, and drought, which have impacted productivity and increased vulnerability for farmers. These challenges have been exacerbated by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted supply chains and market access.

Despite these challenges, agriculture remains a cornerstone of many nations’ economies, including Namibia. Women, in particular, play a vital but often unsung role in agriculture. They constitute a significant portion of the agricultural workforce, contributing to crop cultivation, livestock management, and agribusiness. However, they face various challenges and barriers that hinder their full participation and potential.

The Women and Agriculture Summit aimed to recognize and address these challenges, harness the immense potential of women in agriculture, and commit to concrete actions to empower them. Key areas of focus included advocating for women’s land rights, promoting financial inclusion, embracing technology and innovation, enhancing market access, and investing in education and capacity-building programs.

Minister Iipumbu also emphasized the importance of value chains development in agriculture, involving the entire process from farm to fork. Cooperatives in agriculture were highlighted as a model of collective action that empowers smallholder farmers and rural communities.

In her concluding remarks, Minister Iipumbu called upon all stakeholders, including government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector partners, and international institutions, to join hands in supporting women in agriculture. She urged cooperation to create an enabling environment that recognizes the vital role of women in agriculture and promotes their full participation.