SEATINI, FRA and NPA Convene the Virtual Women Agri-Entrepreneurs’ Independent Food Systems Dialogue
On 16th July 2021, SEATINI Uganda, Food Rights Alliance (FRA), SME Alliance in partnership with the National Planning Authority (NPA) convened a virtual women agri-entrepreneur independent food systems dialogue to obtain views of women agri-entrepreneurs given their critical role the agriculture value chain. This dialogue was intended to provide a platform for women agri-entrepreneurs to reflect on foods systems at various levels and also come up with best policy options to be taken forward for consideration.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director at Food Rights Alliance noted the UN General Secretary invited all members and governments to reflect on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the targets therein. She later reiterated that there is need to transform our food systems on principles of inclusivity, sustainability and equity.
Dr. Sarah Nahalamba, the Manager Population and Social Sector Planning (NPA) noted that women agri-entrepreneurs play an important role in the development of this country especially towards contributing to the food systems. She further noted that Uganda has taken a multi-sectoral and stakeholder approach towards to the preparation of the UN Food Summit.
We have come out as government to work with non-state actors to deliberate and propose best policy options and interventions that would be considered at country level. The UN Food systems Summit is intended to awaken us and the all world that we must all work together to transform the way the world produces and consumes food among others and the women agri-entrepreneurs have a very big role in this endeavor, Dr. Sarah Nahalamba said.
Mrs. Lovin Kobusingye, the Chairperson at the Uganda National Women Fish Organization revealed that women face numerous challenges including; lack of capacity and yet they face a lot of competition especially from Indians who have a lot of capital; lack the right processing equipment and also operate with minimal capital which constrains production.
Ms. Dorothy W. Kimuli, the Managing Director at D& M Group International noted that there is need for systematic and accountable approach towards uplifting women agri-businesses.
Mr. Mbazira Hassan from the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development emphasized that issues of food security are very pertinent. He also reiterated that the issue of certification is very key and it’s undeniable that most of our products are raw and not certified, they struggling to achieve market entry and access at various levels.
Most women agri-entrepreneurs do not know about the available financial products and the institutions which offer the products and yet there are products that are designed specifically for these women, Mr. Mbazira Hassan said.