Youth in Soil

Creating an enabling environment for African smallholder farmers

Creating an enabling environment for African smallholder farmers

A blog post by Dolapo Adeyanju

In the context of Africa, scaling up agricultural production to drive value addition among smallholder farmers requires financing, strong institutional support, compatible infrastructures, improved technology and favorable policies.

For many centuries, African smallholder farming has been characterized by low production with a market which is consistently dominated by the produce-and-sell syndrome. This requires farmers to produce and sell directly to the market without any value addition.

As consumer preference changes, there is now a continuous demand for a market with value-added products where consumers determine the attributes and qualities of the products to purchase. The saddening story is that African smallholder farmers seems to be left behind in the global market as a result of their inability to meet the growing demand for value added products.

The fact remains that smallholder farmers are lagging in the aspect of value-addition and this is evident with the case study of Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa which produce cocoa seeds, export the raw cocoa seed to other countries and import the value-added products like chocolate. This scenario has contributed to African spending more on the products they have the capability to produce and add value to.

Although there are existing strategies to change the smallholder farmers’ traditional mentality of ‘producing and selling’ agricultural produce directly in the raw form. To attempt this, some questions remain: are smallholder farmers in Africa fitting into these strategies; is there an enabling environment under which farmers and these strategies can thrive; who are those benefitting from these strategies and lastly, who are the actors responsible for creating the enabling environment? The questions are continuous and we are still yet to get the right answers that can be implemented on the ground.

Adding value to a product requires thinking beyond the need to produce raw materials toward a creative thinking of producing for the final consumer. In this reality, farmers must be able to think beyond the box and see themselves as innovators. They must be able to produce based on the attributes specified by the final consumers.

To ensure the reality on the ground for farmers, the emerging question is, what can be done to create opportunities for value addition at the local level for smallholder famers?

Based on the discussion from the Global Soil Week 2019,  there is an approach to creating sustainable opportunities for smallholder farmers which can be discussed under two broad headings – partnership and innovation.

A peculiar problem to smallholder farmers is their lack of access to credit facilities. Although there have been many interventions by government and developmental partners to help tackle this problem, most of these interventions have not been sustainable. The implication of this calls for a need to include sustainability into any financial intervention.


Even though this looks difficult to achieve, success stories from across the globe have shown that it is achievable.

To ensure a proper way to create credit facilities and sustainability into financial interventions, participants who attended the finance and market dimension workshop at the Global Soil Week 2019 agreed on the urgency to provide certified seeds/seedlings and other inputs to farmers on credit to boost their production and in return, the farmers can repay with part of their outputs.

One of the participants at the dimension workshop on finance and marketing, Nicodemus Kyalo, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Kenya said, “there is a need for inclusive investment which can enable producers to scale up their production. This can be done be exploring partnership models on sustainable production requirement and comprehensive support for producing communities.” He suggested that the access-benefit sharing agreement approach can be adopted to drive agricultural finance for farmers.

On the discussion around demand and supply, Chris Magero from IUCN, Kenya ascertained that having a market for products is not enough. He noted that market accessibility needs to be extended to how demand and supply can be managed in terms of quality, volume and consistency, thereby, ensuring sustainable food production.

He further explained the need to encourage producers to establish nurseries for indigenous products and by-products to ensure consistent and sustainable agricultural production. Farmers can be encouraged to plant alternative crops which are economically profitable as well as processing traditional crops for market consumption.

In conclusion, it is no doubt that the cost implication of value addition in terms of production, processing and marketing is too high for smallholder farmers. Hence, it should not be mis-conceptualized that African farmers are rigid and unwillingly to fit into development strategies such as value addition.

I am certain that if farmers are given the enabling environment to thrive, alongside the support and the willingness of the different stakeholders to address issues around value addition, then, smallholder farmers will have the financial capability to engage in profitable agricultural production and value addition as means to scale-up their livelihood.

Youth in Soil

Women, the Heart of Humanity

Women, the Heart of Humanity

By Nellie Kanyemba Kapatuka

There is no tool for development as effective as empowering women, says a famous quote by Kofi Anan. Women have the potential to do everything they put their heart to and, their contribution to agriculture, more especially in Africa, can never be underestimated.

Growing up, I have always seen women as the frontier of agriculture apart from their usual roles of taking care of their homesteads. Even though this is the case, some African cultures do not allow women to legally own land despite them being actively engaged in agricultural production.

As Mahnaz Afkhami said, women empowerment is intertwined with respect for human rights, there is a point most African cultures are missing when it comes to women land tenure. Women can make so much difference given the right platform and resources.

The recent 2019 Global Soil Week brought out a lot of issues regarding women’s access to land in most African countries. It also brought to light how women can be empowered by giving them access to land for farming as means to contribute to agricultural production in Africa.

Some of the most valuable takeaways from the Global Soil Week included giving women access to land for agricultural production. Success stories from Kenya and Burkina Faso, where women are now able to have land of their own is something worth celebrating. Other countries surely need to borrow a leaf, however there is a need to formulate deliberate policies targeting women to ensure they have an enabling environment for sustainable climate resilient agriculture.

Alice Kaudia, one of the #GSW2019 moderators said, women are an asset in agriculture as they make timely decisions and greatly contribute to farming activities in their households.

“Women are the heart of every household, they make things happen and given proper opportunities, women have proved to be the movers and shakers, hence the need to get them involved in agriculture by empowering them”, she said.


This statement truly reflects how women can add a lot of value and bring a new face in African agricultural production, but again, women empowerment alone is not enough to boost Africans agriculture sector, other different factors like finance and market creation and access also comes to play.

Talking about finance, there is a greater need for governments and partners to put deliberate policies in giving women start up loans for them to grow their agricultural enterprise and operations. This reflects a case study of what One Acre Fund is doing in multiple African countries, providing loans to less privileged farmers. This model can be embraced by most governments in scaling-up finance for women and other smallholder farmers as a way to make hunger a thing of the past in Africa.

Market access just like finance, needs also the government as an enabler of creating environments for sustainable climate smart agriculture, to take up the challenge of finding markets for their local farmers. Through this, governments can also be able to collect revenue thereby boosting their economies.

However, for all of this to happen, there is also a need for people to take up different roles in managing and conserving the environment including the soil, knowing that without healthy soils, no agricultural production can happen.

Statistics have shown that over 24 billion tons of top soils are lost annually across the world due to degradation and siltation caused by human activities.

Soils are the basis of life and are crucial in every aspect of humanity, this is the whole reason why everyone should be taken on board to make sure it is properly conserved and managed.

Youth in Soil

Global Week Soil 2019: Des “digital natives” associés au…

Global Week Soil 2019: Des “digital natives” associés au combat

Un article par Dieudonné Edouard Sango

Placée sous le thème “Créer un environnement propice à une agriculture durable et résiliente aux changements climatiques”, la cinquième édition de la Semaine mondiale des sols (Global Week Soil) connait pour la première fois une participation spéciale de la jeunesse.

A chaque événement, la participation des jeunes est essentielle, et ce pour deux raisons. La première est directement liée à leur nombre, sachant qu’environ 70% de la population africaine ont moins de 30 ans. La deuxième se réfère au fait que la jeunesse se mobilise maintenant en faveur du changement social et demande de plus en plus à se faire entendre. Et ils ont en leur possession une arme solide: les TIC.

Dans tous les secteurs d’activités, et de nos jours, de plus en plus dans le secteur agricole, les TIC sont utilisées pour rendre le domaine « plus sexy » aux yeux des jeunes africains comme aime à le dire Inoussa Maïga, fondateur et directeur éditorial de Agribusiness TV. Généralement, la digitalisation de l’agriculture renvoie à l’optimisation soit de la production agricole, soit de la transformation ou encore de la conservation… Cependant, la tendance, de nos jours, est d’utiliser le pouvoir et la portée des TIC pour promouvoir l’agriculture et ses domaines connexes surtout auprès des jeunes ; et cela se fait le plus souvent par leur pair.

Ainsi, dans la vision de créer un environnement propice à une agriculture durable et résiliente aux changements climatiques de manière inclusive, il s’est tenu en prélude à la conférence les 25 et 26 mai, la Youth in Soil Event, « une initiative visant à rassembler 13 jeunes Africains originaire de 7 différents pays pour les former sur l’importance de la Semaine mondiale des sols et sur le thème central » explique John Agboola, facilitateur de la Youth in Soil Event. L’idée c’est de voir « comment les jeunes peuvent être impliqués particulièrement en utilisant leurs expériences et compétences pour communiquer les résultats scientifiques sur médias sociaux pour plus d’impact » précise-t-il. Durant ces deux jours, ce sont donc des jeunes avides de savoir et entièrement engagés pour la cause de l’agriculture qui ont bénéficié d’un renforcement de capacité en microblogging et en blogging ; ce qui va leur permettre la couverture de l’évènement sur les réseaux sociaux.


Un engagement intense

Alors que la majorité de leurs pairs qualifient l’agriculture comme un métier salissant, les Youth in Soil, quant à eux, adhèrent à la philosophie de Clotaire Ouédraogo, coordonnateur pays du Programme de développement des terres arides au Burkina Faso, selon laquelle « Le facteur de production le plus déterminant c’est le capital foncier ; donc le sol. Quand ce sol n’offre pas des capacités de production, il ne peut pas faire vivre ceux qui s’y trouvent ; non seulement les humains, mais aussi l’environnement… ».

Ainsi, Nellie Kanyemba Kapatuka du Malawi exprime assez clairement son engagement : « J’ai l’impression d’avoir un rôle majeur à jouer en ce qui concerne la conservation et la gestion des sols et tout ce qui concerne l’environnement » affirme-t-elle. « Venant d’un pays qui a été durement touché par les changements climatiques, j’ai le sentiment que la Semaine mondiale des sols est une plateforme très importante pour apprendre et pour avoir de nouvelles idées sur la meilleure façon d’exercer une influence et d’être un agent de changement sur les problèmes qui touchent mon pays ». Et à Sally Kimathi du Kenya de préciser qu’il est temps « de faire entendre la voix des jeunes, surtout les jeunes agriculteurs qui ont beaucoup à faire dans le secteur agricole ». Ils constituent la plus grande part de la population des différents pays africains. Pour cela, « Ils devraient être entendus et leurs opinions prises en considération dans l’élaboration des diverses politiques les concernant directement ou indirectement » réclame Sharon Cheboi du Kenya.

A l’issue des discussions, ces jeunes engagés « se feront les champions du changement et travailleront avec d’autres jeunes Africains pour apporter des changements en matière de développement, notamment dans l’agriculture et le changement climatique » se montre confiant John Agboola.

Youth in Soil

Global Soil Week 2019: Re-engineering the Will for Local…

Global Soil Week 2019: Re-engineering the Will for Local Actions

A blog post by Atula Owade

It is the fifth edition of the Global Soil Week 2019 and the conversations are lively.

The several months of planning for the 2019 event by TMG Think Tank for Sustainability are showing results as experts from all over the world gathered on the evening of 26th May, 2019 at the Trademark Hotel Nairobi to commence this anticipated conference with a launch dinner. It is the evening of 26th May, 2019.

The 2019 Global Soil Week is said to take a bottom-up learning approach on ‘Creating an Enabling Environment for Sustainable and Climate Resilient Agriculture in Africa’. The event welcomes participants from 12 African countries, India, Germany and America, alongside the co-hosting countries of Burkina Faso, Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and the host country, Kenya.

Anna Kramer, the Project Coordinator for TMG Research welcomes everyone to the conference with a breakdown of how the event will be conducted over the next four days at the ICRAF Campus. The 2019 event is grouped into two distinct segments with the first two days focusing on the Technical Segment and the last two days focusing on the High-Level Segment.

Technical Segment Day 1

Day 1 started with an opening plenary moderated by Alice Kaudia and Alexander Müller. This session highlighted the objectives of this 2019 event and set the agenda through the introduction of the narrative of the Global Soil Week. In the opening hour, a simulation of a case discussion was conducted through an interactive dialogue between a case presenter, Saydou Koudougou, from Burkina Faso and Serah Kirangu from TMG.

The simulation was immediately followed by five simultaneous workshops with different cases. The implementers such as soil experts, agricultural engineers, farmers, agronomists, government officers, and social workers were grouped into five different parallel workshops to discuss cases based on the conference thematic focus.

The intention from the workshops was for lessons from these cases to be analyzed by the participants as means to identify the relevant enabling and hindering factors for creating an enabling environment for sustainable and climate resilient agriculture in Africa.


Technical Segment Day 2

The second day of the event capitalized on experience sharing and also charted the way forward for creating an enabling environment for sustainable and climate resilient agriculture. The different cases and topics were grouped into four dimensions including land governance, extension services, local governance and cooperation as well as finance and markets. The target for the day ensured effective facilitation of deliberations, clustering of lessons from the cases and analysis of cases around the four dimensions. These dimensions are viewed as critical aspects of an enabling environment and represent prominent challenges for sustainable and climate resilient agriculture. The technical segment of the conference ended with a plenary and preparation dinner for the high-level segment of the conference.


The high-level segment

The third day of the conference was entirely dedicated to the four peer review workshops around the same dimensions. TMG has a sustainability think tank, believes that sustainable land management needs a multi-faceted approach.  The belief is that experts need not work in silos for in such a way they are blind to different, equally important viewpoints, hence, encouraging multi-disciplinary discussions.

Following the peer review workshops, senior experts and lead discussants from the diverse workshop dimensions gathered to further reviewed the lessons learned per dimension and commonalities, differences and complementary approaches were discussed to constitute day four discussion within the Global Soil Week Lab.

The final day of the event took the approach of collating all the discussions and peer reviews made during the previous days. These reviews were concluded with a call to action for creating an enabling the environment for sustainable and climate resilient agriculture in Africa.

To close the Global Soil Week 2019, a lab event was organized with high-level decision makers to solidify commitment to actions and implementation. The event ended with a concluding plenary where lessons and actionable outcomes and agenda were shared with the participants for practical application on the ground.

Youth in Soil

Global Soil Week, Un appel à l’action au service…

Global Soil Week, Un appel à l’action au service de l’Agriculture Africaine

Un article par José Herbert Ahodode

L’engagement citoyen est un merveilleux voyage à la découverte de soi et des autres. C’est une noble aventure mais en même temps une passion à développer chez les jeunes. Je l’ai compris et depuis quelques années, j’essaie avec plusieurs groupes multiculturels de m’engager dans une direction, celle du développement des communautés. Je suis de cette génération de jeunes qui veut prendre sa place dans la construction d’un radieux avenir, d’un Bénin uni autour de réels enjeux de développement, d’une Afrique prospère sur la base de ses richesses et potentialités. La finalité étant de participer à une dynamique d’engagement civique des jeunes à travers le Monde. Cette passionnante aventure a ses joies et peines mais aussi et surtout quelques victoires – des succès – qui encouragent à continuer…

José Herbert AHODODE est mon identité. Agronome de formation, je suis très engagé sur diverses questions de développement dans mon pays, sur le continent africain et à travers le Monde. Je suis actuellement Membre de l’équipe francophone d’organisation de la Conférence internationale Countdown 2030 & Beyond qui se tiendra en Allemagne en Décembre 2019 ; une passionnante et enrichissante expérience avec des jeunes engagés sur les questions en lien avec les Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD), l’Agenda 2030 de l’ONU, l’Agenda 2063 de l’Union Africaine (UA). Mais ce n’est pas l’objet de cet article…

Je parlais d’engagement des jeunes africains, revenons à notre sujet principal!

Actuellement se tient à Nairobi (Kenya) la Conférence internationale Global Soil Week qui réunit plusieurs acteurs du développement rural, des partenaires techniques et financiers, des acteurs non gouvernementaux ainsi que des partenaires techniques et financiers. Le développement du milieu rural demeure une nécessité bien reconnue par divers acteurs tant publics que privés. Dans cette dynamique, plusieurs initiatives de nature inclusive au bénéfice du monde rural ont été engagées. Au niveau international, les engagements politiques tels que la déclaration Malabo de l’Union Africaine sur l’agriculture, l’Agenda 2063, l’Agenda 2030 et les Objectifs de développement durable, le « Bonn Challenge » ainsi que les Contributions Prévues Déterminées au niveau National (CPDN) sont, à n’en point douter, l’expression des gouvernements qui reconnaissent la nécessité d’action.

C’est justement la dynamique dans laquelle tout le monde devra s’engager (tous en tant qu’acteurs de développement mais aussi en tant que partie prenante d’un processus inclusif de marche en avant vers un mieux-être sur tous les plans). Dans la réalité, force est de constater que le financement mis en œuvre à travers plusieurs projets fussent-ils innovants ne réussit – très souvent – pas à sortir les producteurs (principaux bénéficiaires) de leur situation de précarité ambiante. Pis, sur le plan des politiques nationales, les nombreuses initiatives entreprises n’ont pas encore abouti à des résultats probants notamment sur la question de la gestion durable des terres. C’est justement la thématique qui nous intéresse dans ce billet – la GDT – car comme le sait le commun des mortels, on ne saurait parler d’agriculture sans sols, sans terres.

Nous sommes à une époque où les enjeux de protection de la biodiversité sont énormes au regard de tous les problèmes que peuvent causer – et que causent – les changements climatiques. Dans toutes les régions du globe, le phénomène est menaçant. Les agriculteurs, tant bien que mal, essayent d’apporter des stratégies locales pour y faire face avec à la clé quelques réussites parfois et beaucoup d’échecs souvent. Les appuis des projets promus par les partenaires techniques et financiers ont encore du mal à extirper le problème du vécu quotidien des acteurs du monde rural. Nous sommes, en toute évidence, dans une situation où les terres s’appauvrissent davantage dans un contexte d’évolution galopante de la démographie où il faut nourrir plus de monde avec très peu de ressources. Mieux, les ressources existantes s’amenuisent de jour en jour et pendant ce temps, le nombre de bouches à nourrir continue d’augmenter. C’est bien-là le dilemme !


Dans ces conditions, l’on est en plein droit de se poser l’ultime question : A quand la fin de la faim dans le Monde ? Bien malin celui/celle qui apportera la baguette magique pour solutionner cette situation préoccupante. Malgré les efforts actuels, l’urgence d’investir de façon inclusive se fait de plus en plus remarquée surtout dans la gestion durable des terres en Afrique dans l’ultime but d’assurer la sécurité alimentaire des populations. Il faut noter qu’en 2017, environ 20% de la population africaine était estimée en situation de sous-nutrition, avec des personnes connaissant des privations alimentaires de façon chronique. Mieux, la démographie du continent devrait connaître une augmentation de 1,3 milliard de personnes au cours des 30 prochaines années.

Le problème étant connu, il faut tâcher d’y apporter les solutions convenables. Dans ma longue marche au service de la communauté, une noble aventure m’a amené sur la Terre de Jomo Kenyatta, dans une belle cité, celle de Nairobi la capitale. Je n’y suis pas seul, rassurez-vous ! Nous sommes plus d’une centaine de participants venus d’horizons divers pour réfléchir ensemble et apporter des approches de solutions aux problèmes sus-évoqués. Le cadre qui nous réunit est le Centre International d’Agroforesterie (World Forestry Centre – ICRAF) sous le leadership du Think Tank TMG avec l’appui généreux de plusieurs partenaires dont la GIZ en chef de file. La durabilité des investissements et l’adoption de pratiques agricoles améliorées à une plus grande échelle exigent que l’on s’attaque au chaînon manquant entre les projets pilotes et les programmes nationaux ; ce qui nécessite de créer un environnement propice au niveau local. Ainsi, la thématique qui réunit diverses personnalités et la pluralité d’acteurs à Nairobi du 26 au 30 Mai 2019 pour trouver des solutions à nos problèmes de pauvreté des sols dans un contexte de changement climatique est : comment créer un environnement propice à une agriculture durable et résiliente au changement climatique ?

Pour rester connecter à la Conférence et suivre le déroulement en direct, je vous invite à suivre @GlobalSoilWeek sur Twitter ainsi que la page Facebook Global Soil Week.

En tant que #YouthInSoil, je travaille avec une équipe dynamique d’une dizaine de jeunes leaders inspirants venus de divers horizons de l’Afrique. Nous vous invitons donc à suivre les hashtags #GSW2019, #ThemeSoil, #YouthInSoil, #GlobalSoilWeek sur les réseaux sociaux Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et Instagram.

Je ne finirai pas sans vous appeler, encore une fois à l’action collective/corrective pour régler nos problèmes communs. J’en fais ma passion au quotidien, celle d’interpeller sur les questions qui urgent et je n’ai d’autre canal que ma plume pour vous dire, chers lecteurs, ce qu’il urge de savoir : « Agissons ensemble pour créer un environnement propice à une agriculture durable et résiliente au changement climatique. »

Youth in Soil

Becoming an Enthusiastic Female Farmer

Becoming an Enthusiastic Female Farmer

A blog post by Dolapo Adeyanju

Opinions and discouragement from my family and friends that women cannot be a successful farmer almost make me re-think if I should consider a career in agriculture or opt for the trending course.  Amid mixed opinions and doubts, I settled for a course in agricultural economics and extension.

In my first class for a practical crop production course named AEE 202, bright grins covered my face with thoughts of how I cannot wait for a learning experience on the school farm, one of the biggest farms in Nigeria.

Being an agricultural and extension student, some of my classes on agricultural extension and women in agriculture were discouraging but my decision remains firm to make a career out of farming. The negative stories of women suffering in agriculture were regular advice from close families and friends, but my decision remains firm.

The unpalatable farm experiences

It’s a new dawn to go to the farm for my AEE 202 course and the excitement, expectations and tension were high. In my green laboratory coat and rugged over-sized black rain boot from my father, I head straight to the farm, encouraging myself with the African golden words – “This is it, oh blessed proud daughter of her father.”

It was the very first farm visit for me and after minutes of driving the bus suddenly stopped in the middle of the bush with my heart skipping like It was going to stop. The car could not move and thus, a means to walk to the farm was the next suggestion from the lecturer. In the middle of the complaints, I alighted from the bus with a bag packed with food, snacks and a water bottle.

Walking to the farm through the poor road linkage – a shattered dream from erosion, I can only compliment myself with my 2 litres of water. In my thoughts, I asked, how do people get to their farms using the unpalatable road.



The walk was not a sweet one but finally we got to the farm and here comes the excitement to get down to work and test my decision to become a farmer. Accompanied by farmers who are old men, we were showed around the farm with stories of their farming experience. The challenges learned in class resonated with the farmer’s stories, listing from poor road network, lack of access to credit, lack of sufficient extension services and high transaction cost.

In my curiosity, I asked about the women in agriculture and the question was a big slap, knock and blow altogether. The explanation given was the assertion that women belong to the kitchen and are meant to help their husbands on the farm but not allowed to own farmlands as all the lands belong to men. I asked in awe of curiosity if women work while the men spend the proceeds and it was a disappointing truth that the farmers nodded in agreement to this arrangement.

The practical farm work was concluded, and the students departed from the farm but the thoughts and statements from the farm keeps bothering my mind. To relieve myself of the experience, I concluded that the world, particularly Africa, must move away from its restrictive tradition holding women and young people back from becoming a farmer. To make a difference, I re-engineered my interest and commitment to study agriculture and change the status-quo.

Women land ownership

Upon graduation from the university some years back, I am excited today to have seen, read and heard about numbers of successful female farmers. Women who broke social and traditional rules to achieve their goals in the agricultural sector. One such success story from Africa is of Alice Kaudia, a Kenyan born woman who against all odds became a successful farmer.

In sharing her personal experience during the opening first day of Global Soil Week 2019, Alice, said that female farmers are faced with numerous challenges which are evident in most African countries. She further explained that women do not have the right to own land due to the current land transfer structures.

Land ownership in most African countries is by inheritance and the lands are transferred to male children. Although in countries where constitutionally, a specified hectare of lands is to be transferred to women, the laws are violated and ignored.


Violet Shivutse, a women leader from Shibuye Community Health Worker Project in Kakamega County of Kenya, mentioned during the conference that women are vulnerable in accessing land. She reiterated that few women have the resources to purchase or acquire land on lease. Hence, leaving many women who are so enthusiastic about farming to end up as mere farm workers.

Violet explained that aside access to land, women’s productivity is low as compared to men because of lack of access to finance, lack of access to other farm resources, multi-tasking and engagement in numerous activities such as domestic and other marital obligations. The phrase resonates with different findings and studies that women provide most of the labor used on the farm.

Re-engineering land accessibility for women

To address the identified challenges and change the societal norms, the questions were evidently answered during the first day of the Global Soil Week 2019 with recommendations as follows:

Firstly, women should be recognized as an important asset that can drive sustainable agricultural development which will change the general perception that women should not own land. In her remarks, Alice Kaudia, an eco-entrepreneur and a co-facilitator for the conference, said that access to land will help to facilitate timely decision making among women and invariably lead to increased productivity and better livelihood.

Secondly, the approach adopted by the Shibuye Community Health Workers is a brilliant approach that can be adopted to increase land access by women as well as provision of financial assistance to women through a community resilient fund to enable them to acquire land on lease and acquire resources required for farming.

As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day, but the reality remains that the lands in Rome were not left untapped. It is, therefore, important that community collective actions will help to drive women in agriculture and to their promise land to become a successful farmers.

I am a woman, I am energetic, I am a farmer and I will continue to lend my voice to raise more female farmers.

Youth in Soil

Enabling environment for sustainable land use and management

Enabling environment for sustainable land use and management

By Nellie Kanyemba Kapatuka

For a long time, African countries have been heavily affected by effects of climate change ranging from soil erosion, degradation and drought among many others. Implementation of deliberate measures set aside by government and developmental partners still seem not to fully address such issues causing fear and anxiety among people especially the most rural communities in Africa.The workshop on land management at the Global Soil Week 2019 which brought over 200 participants across the globe, revealed existing gaps in the current initiatives to conserve and protect land to create an enabling environments for sustainable climate resilient agriculture on African continent.

In one of the dimension workshop on local governance, successful cases were analyzed and reviewed. In Malawi, Chia lagoon which lies on Lake Malawi was on the verge of destruction as it was heavily silted due to water run-off. Sharing the story, Total Land Care Malawi Managing Director Zwide Jere explained how challenging it was to change the mindset of communities around the lagoon into realizing their roles in redeeming it. “Farming activities happening upstream had deadly impacts on the downstream communities who heavily relies on fishing for livelihood”, said Zuze, one of the expert from the workshop. It was discussed that involvement of both up and down stream water users almost yielded nothing as they both did not realize how beneficial the water body is to them both until the process restructured to involve key local structures in the implementation process.

In Kenya, a case study was cited that 80% of women are engaged in farming activities, leading to implementing projects that aimed at enhancing food security and market access for land constrained women farmers. This implementation of this project has successfully empowered women to have access to their own farmland. In a quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable agricultural production and climate resilient agriculture, the project which 850 women farmers, who were empowered to steer all the agricultural processes in their communities.


One Acre Fund on the other hand, working in countries like Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia and Zambia among others, is bailing out farmers by providing financial assistance in form of loans for farmers to easily access farming inputs. This project however stirred some debate among the workshop participants as to whether farmers in Africa really need money or capacity building for them to have en enabling environment for their agricultural production. However, Daniel Omondi from the One Acre Fund said all they want is to improve accessibility and applicability of rural extension services for small holder farmers. He added that with time, they expect the farmers to develop resistance and become financially independent.
“We set a fixed time frame where a farmer can be a beneficiary of these loans to make sure that we enhance the spirit of self-reliance so they can be financially independence”, said Omondi.

The workshop draws conclusion with valuable lessons such as good working collaboration between government and non-governmental organizations, women involvement in matters that affect them by overcoming gender stereotypes and changing people’s mindset towards non-conventional agricultural practices. The discussions from the different dimensions from the Global Soil Week 2019 including land governance, local governance, extension services and finance and market leaves no doubt that delegates will go back with refreshed minds and a clear vision on how to help farmers in Africa have an enabling environment for sustainable climate resilient agriculture.