A public dialogue called to stimulate debate on how the 2014/15 national budget will impact on agriculture has called for making more resources available to women small-holder farmers.
The debate, organised by Action Aid, attracted stakeholders from civil society, researchers and policymakers and officials from Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.
Speakers included Andrew Kagabo, the Girinka Programme National Co-ordinator and Angelique Dusenge from Profamme Twesehamwe, a women advocacy group.
Sula Nuwamanya, the in charge of partnership and communications at Action Aid, said that stakeholders should discuss and understand what the budget contains and how it is leaning towards supporting women small-holder farmers.
“When we are talking about 90 percent of the economy dependant on agriculture and 80 percent of those involved in agriculture are women. Therefore, a call to increase support to agriculture in view of helping women small-holder farmers is paramount,” he said.
He said the government has made considerable investment in agriculture sector, but more should be done to remove challenges faced by women to access agricultural inputs, extension services and finance.
“Women small-holder farmers have interests and capacity to [to boost] agriculture, but they cannot easily access [resources] from financial institutions. It would have been better if more had been allocated to Umurenge SACCO where women could easily access the finance,” he said.
Angelique Dusenge said women fear to go for loans which could have helped them to improve on agriculture.
“We still have a task of sensitising women to form cooperatives so that they can be eligible to access loans from financial institutions,” she said.
Finance minister Claver Gatete has allocated Rwf252.8 billion (14 percent of the budget) on rural development initiatives such as agriculture development that has been allocated Rwf 54.3 billion.