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REPRESENTING AUC/DREA, AU SAFGRAD ACTIVELY PARTICIPATES TO THE FORUM ON WOMEN’S ACCESS TO PRODUCTIVE RESOURCES IN FOUR MAIN AFRICAN COUNTRIES PRODUCING COTTON

 REPRESENTING AUC/DREA, AU SAFGRAD ACTIVELY PARTICIPATES TO THE FORUM ON WOMEN’S ACCESS TO PRODUCTIVE RESOURCES IN FOUR  MAIN AFRICAN COUNTRIES PRODUCING COTTON

Bamako, Mali – 22 November 2016. The opening ceremony was chaired by Mrs SANGARE Oumou BA , Malian Minister for Women, Children and Family Affairs, The 4day (22-25) Forum hosts over a hundred participants drawn from women cotton producers’ organizations, representatives of civil society groups and government officials from the four countries (Benin, Burkina, Chad and Mali).The Forum is discussing and sharing experiences on women cotton (and rotational crops) farmers’ access to productive resources, and it is aimed at promoting the economic and social empowerment of women producers and processors. 

The Forum is held in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).  African Union Commission is represented by AU-SAFGRAD, the specialized technical office under DREA in charge of research coordination and facilitation towards building resilience of livelihoods in the Semi-Arid zone of Africa.

At the opening ceremony, H.E Mrs SANGARE highlighted the important role being played by Cotton in Malian economy as a major source of income and livelihood as well as for food security (food crops in cotton rotation). She pointed out the massive involvement of women farmers in the cotton value chain in Mali. However, she reported that “Small scale producers, notably Women, are facing many constraints most often based on gender issue such as access to land, financial services, access to inputs (seeds, fertilizers, equipment, etc.)”

The representative of AUC/DREA, Dr Mure Agbonlahor, in his address highlighted the commitment of AU and its Commission towards promoting women’s social and economic empowerment in the continent. He reiterated that the issue of gender mainstreaming and women empowerment is paramount in the DREA’s projects and very dear in the heart of the Chairperson as enunciated in Agenda 2063. He expressed the Commission’s support for the objective of the C4CP project of enhancing the social economic development of women, and observed the need to out-scale the project to other cotton producing Member States. A presentation on AU’ initiatives towards promoting women’s access to farm implement and equipment was made by AU-SAFGRAD at the plenary.

Dr Michael Simsik, Chief of Party, USAID-IFDC C4CP project advanced the progress recorded by the project and reported that the USD14.8 million project is expected to run for four years (2014-2018) with the aim to improve food security in the target areas.

He reported that sub-Saharan Africa is the fifth biggest exporter of cotton in the world and cotton is the main economic activity for more than two million male and female producers in the four biggest cotton producing countries called the C4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad). The agricultural production system that is practiced is an integrated and dynamic one taking into account cereals (maize, millet…) and vegetables (beans, peanuts, soybeans) in rotation with cotton. Therefore, cotton plays a very important role in the fight against poverty and brings a major contribution to the food security of the cotton producing households.

However, small scale male and female producers have not always been able to fully use this potential to improve their means of livelihood, because they are confronted with many challenges. In addition, women in the C4 countries are facing specific challenges such as their non-recognition as cotton producers and their lack of memberships in cotton producers’ associations.

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Group photo at the openning ceremony

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Dr Mure Agbonlahor of AU-SAFGRAD delevering the message of AUC/DREA

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Mrs SANGARE Oumou BA , Malian Minister for Women, Children and Family Affairs, delelivering her speech at the Opening ceremony

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Youssoupha MBENGUE, Senior Communications Officer, AU SAFGRAD. Email: Mbenguey@africa-union.org

Download here the Press Release in pdf