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Thu rsday, July 14, 2011

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THEREis~ingoplimism

!hat an African Renaissance

is taking hold. Uons on the mol"e, Africa risLng. an! met· aphors eleganLl)' posrumt In ~t optlmlsticassessrmnts

of the continent's economic pulse. And the~ are signs that agrlcul~, the predominant economk activity that engages the vast majority of Africa's smallholder fanlleB

DAILY TRUST

Engendering the African renaissance in agriculture

is also rising. Malawi, for example has not only achie\~ mnarkable SUCUSI growing her food and (<<ding her ptOpk 0Vtt the b.sl K\-eraI ~'eU$, W Is C\~ hdping out her neighbours. Ghan3 Iw: dnunati ally reducm hunger among her people through sus1aincd agricultural growth in Ghana and is well on the path 10 reUud ng poverty in half by 2015. Success. howe,,'rf, is 1op-

sided. Female smallholders, theotherhalf of Afnais farmers who grow much of the continem' food ~ not fully on board Africa rrnI)' wdI be risillg.and on her waYlolVllrds anagriclJitural m'Olution. But Illopsided agriculture will not spa\\l1 a sustainable African agricul tural m'Olutlon. Women smallholders and rural tnlrcprroeurs on the continent are neilher participal ing fully nor deriving benefitsln equal measure in ~ agri-toJIlolll)'owing 10 genderobsladc:s dmom by cultural and socktal nonns. This mustchangeif Moo is to transform theapacitylO feed ilsdfand reallzethequalit)'offifeenvisioned for ruraJ l ~lOIds and commWlities in sub-Saharan Mrica. uarning from upc-rimoe Mri~ and herda-dopmenl partners ha~ 1eaJ'Tled from the rich body of accumul:llM work IIId a-peri<:na:s over- the pas! 2Q )'elIl"51ha1 spotlight \'Iomen as legitimate smallholders. 't~ they ha\'e remaintd in a proc:Iucth-e SJDttcoll.5bicl.cd byobsta~ cks - on the farm, aaoss value chains and in the distribution 01 bmriltsl\ilhin the nlr.ll household. Theseobs1ades have madegmder inequalityvisibleand reaJ in ilSconsequences - from disparities Inland rights, insecure tenure, limittd accm to agricultural inputs, Io-..-er technical skills, and pooter access to knowledge and craill, to a relatively weaker IxIrg,dning power v.ithin the household and a(fOSS mariceu, 111Cl'c is now wider awaR'nC$S, followmg a deadeofinler\"enUons that gtnderobstadts ha\'easignilicanlmfluenceon the outcomes of agricultul1ll intm'f'ntions. We know from recent c:stimales thaI MriOlIl l>'OO1en 011'11 onlyone pt'l'Cttltofthe agrlcullun.lland in Mrlca. Whm thq- do. th~ are more likely to NI'e smaller and less fmil t land holdings than men, whereas mens landholdings ao.-enge three times those of women_ _ Q langc lspos.~iblehow~'ft"_ R«mt FAO assessments hal~ s1101'In us that just giving womt'J1 the same ;KCess as men to agriculturalltchoologiescould increase production on womens fanns in devdoping COUJllrleS by 20 10 30 per CttIt. Impl'O\i ng women sm.allholde:rs' access to scientific lechnoIogiesdmrlyworks 10 impnn-e productMt)'_ We know the planet fl y and the genes upres.s. as a ~ mentorof mine once wrote. But technologyalone CUUlot guannl~ the Inns-

•.1.

fonnath~ change we anlicipale in ag.rlculture.. We must also look beyond lechnology obstacles to lOcus on gender relations and Ihe conlexts in which decisions on lechnofogy play out. Beyond the: obstada: The miS5ing ingredient - We need lodt\"elopa Ixtter undmtandingcf thecomp1ex~ ityand dynamIsm in Mrta:n fanning situations. RwaJ women a.re not uniforml), resource poor lI.I1d vulnerable. just as men are not uniformly r~ rich and domimnt. Other socia.l Identilles, lndudmg age and ethnidly could mean that the disadvanlaged in particular contexts ma)'varyaaoss the Iifecyde. Amollg the luorthnic group in Kenya, mnrch hasshown that the mother in law hasgR'lterdecWon makingpowCf in fanning decisions 0I"Cf the wife who has not borne children, To larw:-t our intcnTlltions more effC!Cth'd)" we must deepen our under-standing of complex gender and soci;d relations in rura1 households and commWlities. - We need a better appretiation or tiM! diffeR'ntiated priori~ ties in"agrkuTtumfproduct-ion within farming households and along the value chain, Baselines must go beyond conl'e.ntioll;d indicators. TIlOUghtful gender and social an.alySts can mo\-e project design and implementation beyond the namnv rocus on women and obsIades to identify structures thaI either enable or constrain access of pari icular actors (who are often, but not a1wa)'s women) to opportunities. - We need 10 focus on peopIeand thecontexts in which thqareembedded (5OCiaI,eultural, ilIstitutional) as complementary entry points. High yielding impt"Ol'cd varmies arecriticalto bring about a much needed agricullural ~'OIution.. But food made from imj'T'O'-m varieties and high yielding oops must meet peoplei taste and preferroc.e as welL Research In Slerna I..eooe has shO\\" thill female smallholders l\iU dis-adopt an otherwisehigh yidding improvtd varietyof ricelfcooked Id"to-

\om ckleriota.te and CUUlol be fed lo their children for breakI'm. L.di.over rice for breakfast is as important a determinant of adoption as )idd potential in INIly poor I'lnI households. 1k agriruIlun.I and food equation must balance. Pa}"ing attention 10 the v.ider conleJ:tJ 01 tKhnoJogy can lead to higher pay-oifs Ihrough v.ider IKhnolog}' uptake that in tum,can expand the enabling conditions 10 speed up a rood and agrirultlU'a!. R'\'OIuUon on the conlin~lll. - We aha need to focus on the broader proc.es.ses ofchange. so that we are able 10 kimlif)' the kinds of support rural actors - male and female - need in order \0 benefit from, or adapt 10 agricultural changcand opportuniUes.. Traditionally successful financing models for example, mayneed innOl'llti\~ re-design toeffrctil'ci), respond to growing calls for agricultural lendmg thalls also gender sensilh-e. Sdzlng the moment TIle tide is turning for /\Incas smallholder lh-elihoods v.ith lmpressh~ records of success in various spots on the continent. We mUSI now seiu: the opponunitytoenstUe the flight toward ouragfirultural transfomlation isbaJanced, not lop-sided har~ nessing the full I'llJ\ge of hwnan R'$OUrces in the practice of (anning.

In working 10 acoompljsh its goal of cat.al)'ling an agricultural ra"Olution, the Alliance for a Green Rt\"OIution in Mrica (AGRA) ispladng thesecomplex gmder relations between men and women in houscho\cb:at tht hC'3l1.oflts lnt~ttd seeds, wi! health, markets, inllOl'llti\'e Ilnance and policyadvocacysupport programmes -dtdJating it.se!fln deeds, 1101 just in v.'Ofds - 10 a truly gmder responsh~ agricultural R'\'OIutlon In Arria.. The mttlior, ltIorgam Krotoo ,,'f1rlcsfor tI,e AliioTlu for a Grrm Rn'Ol,ttion Ilf Afrim as the Prognml Offiarfor Gemkr.

W IBank lends Uganda $120m for power sector 11i.E World Banklent Uganda 5120 million 10 be used to improve the national electricity

the Ioa.n would fund a five-rear project 10 b~nefit existing grid customers afJIictcd by

gridillld connect moreCU5lomers 10 il,. senior b.,nk official said yesterday_ East AfrlClls third largest economy often suffers power shortages and available electricity is rrequentl)' rationed, forcing busmesses to resort ttl expensk-edlestl-powered generators. Sta"t'n Shalita, World Bank Uganda'sSenior Communications Specialist. told Reuters

thepowucuts. -11le project would in\'OI\-e the construction or a 1l7km transmlS5lon Une and substations, providing technical aS5islance and relocation of people moved 10 make way for the power lint_ About 6,500 na~ customers in $OUlhwrslcm Uganda \\ill be connecltd, ShaliLasaid.

~AIllOl1g the key brncfidarW:s of the new project will be ol-er 50,000 people liloing in Ihe peri-urban arras along the transmission Une,~ he said. Uganda will be gcner.lting an estimated 747 megawatts (r-.'1W) by the end of 2011 rrom last year's 576 MW, according to the $te. tor regulator, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA). Tht minister for energy told parliament

recentl)' more water would nolV be released through the countrys main h)'dropower dam, tl"M! Owen Falls, to generate an additional 40MW, Tht extra hydropower 15 expected to plug the defict created after the government tktommissioned one thtnnal po'ver planl at Jinja in eastern Uganda. Shali!a said the bank had.so far lm-ested 5319 million in othtrongoingpowerpmjecls. (Relilen)

DAILY TRUST, 14 JULY, 2011  

Engendering the African renaissance in agriculture

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