The validation session took place at the St Antony Hall, on September 17, 2019.
Giving the purpose of the validation session, Head – Gender in Agriculture and Nutrition Unit, MAF MariamaTuray commended MAF for recognizing gender issues in the agricultural sector.
She said the government has prioritized agriculture as an engine of Scio- economic growth, adding that there was commitment in supporting this priority within the MAF vision of National Agriculture Transformation plan 2023.
Madam Turay said rural women in the agriculture sector have challenged through income, education and loan facilities among others, noting that growth for women in the sector have been very slow.
She emphasized that the policy would help women greatly in moving away from subsistence farming to that of large-scale farming.
Program Specialist UN Women BenduMassaquoi, said UN Women is working in four thematic areas and one area falls within the policy, which is entrepreneurship for women development.
She said agriculture is a concern as bulk of the women find themselves in the sector especially in the rural areas, pointing that months back approached by MAF for such a policy, which UN Women wholeheartedly favored as they are working on women issues.
Madam Massaquio appealed to MAF and partners to utilize the policy after the validation process and advised for the policy not to be shelved.
“UN women will continue to give technical supports in rolling out the document “she noted.
Deputy Director Ministry of Social Welfare Gender, and Children Affairs Marian Goodie Sowonie said according to the Sierra Leone Population and Housing Census 2016 revealed that bulk of the country’s population was women and much so for the agriculture sector.
She said much of women labor not recognized, adding that old farming practices were affecting women greatly in the sector.
She said more mechanize farming would improve on their yield.
Madam Sowonie said it was high time these women farmers recognized their benefits in the sector, noting that agrarian women are mostly engaged in subsistence farming that is not sufficient to look after their families.
Imprest Administrator for the BAFS project Jemillatu Stober said the overall objective of the programme is the reduction of poverty and food security in Sierra Leone through better governance and improved household living conditions.
She said the project has three folds including institutional capacity building of the MAF and formulation of food security strategies and sector policies.
Also, support to applied research, support to cashew, cocoa and coffee for export and support to environmentally sustainable agricultural diversification and entrepreneurship.
She said GiAP falls within the BAFS project and appealed for all-inclusive policy program, adding that the policy should link with Ministry Department Agencies.