Opinion: Women farm through knowledge sharing

2016-03-28-Eliz Mpofu.pngFirst published in Farming Matters | 32.1 | March 2016

In an attempt to solve problems, people collectively ask questions and discuss and implement solutions. Elizabeth Mpofu describes how knowledge co-creation is commonplace in the lives of people and in agroecology. From these processes, social, political, and practical innovations emerge.

Learning is a lifetime activity. Nowhere is this clearer than in agriculture, and especially among women farmers. Being responsible for over 70% of agricultural production on our continent, we farm through knowledge sharing. In complex and closely knit social groups, starting in early childhood, knowledge is birthed, nurtured and passed on. This knowledge relates to a wide range of topics, such as seed selection and storage, farming methods, nutrition and traditional medicine.

Our grandparents used to tell us: ‘chara chimwe hachitswanyi inda’, meaning: ‘for a person to achieve his or her goals they need help, ideas and knowledge from other people’. So we share knowledge as we walk to fetch water, gather firewood, during traditional ceremonies and as we take our children to clinics. Every space in our community is a space to learn and share what one knows.

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BAFLF & NWFA celebrate International Women’s Day

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-03-16-BAFLF.jpg(Dhaka, March 8, 2016) Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) & National Women Farmers & Workers Association (NWFA) celebrated the International Women’s Day 2016 with a theme ‘equal rights for women in everywhere including on land and resources, recognition in agriculture, ensuring women’s health, job security, livelihood, safety and dignity including women’s maternity right as right to food’.

BAFLF arranged a rally and a discussion meeting where women agricultural workers and women farmers participated to mark women’s day on 8 March. These events were held at BRRI headquarters, Gazipur, Dhaka. Dr. Jiban Krishna Biswas, Director General, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) attended the meeting as chief guest while Norjahan Begum vice president of NWFA presided over the programe and Asma Khatun, member of NWFA facilitated the whole programme. Among others Mr. Rahimuddin, president of BRRI workers’ Association, Golam Sorowor and Md. Mamun of BAFLF were present at the discussion meeting.

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Union of Agricultural Work Committees' Statement on the occasion of March 8th - International Women's Day

UAWC logo 2014.jpeg(Ramallah, March 8, 2016) Today the world celebrates the International Women's Day. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees would like to extend its gratitude to all liberals and progressives in the world, and would like to confirm its profound faith in the principle of emancipation of women around the world, as well as the achievement of full equality between women and men. We believe that the liberation of any society can only be achieved by assuring equal participation of all life's sectors by both sexes.

We render our special tribute to the brave Palestinian woman for her steadfastness and insistence on the continuation to gain all her rights. A special greeting for her and for her constant sacrifices in our struggle against the most violent occupation in the World. A special greeting for her unique sacrifices during the current popular revolution.

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International Women’s Day Statement Youth of the NFU and Union Paysanne

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-03-09-CANADA_2.jpg(Canada, March 8, 2016) On this International Women’s Day, 2016, we the youth of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Union Paysanne stand in solidarity with all of the women farmers, peasants and Indigenous women around the world who are sowing the seeds for change, which includes undertaking a disproportionate amount of the work in feeding communities everywhere. We recognize and honour the efforts of women within the NFU and Union Paysanne who have taken on a leadership role in fighting for equality within the Canadian food system, and who continue to play a strong role in building food sovereignty in this country.

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March 8th: Organising and struggle to win our rights


Via Campesina Press Release

(Harare, March 8th, 2016) Today, International Women’s Day, La Via Campesina is calling for action against capitalist violence all over the world. Capitalist violence is not only the violence that is directly inflicted upon women; it is also an integral part of a social context of exploitation and dispossession that is characterised by the historical oppression and violation of the basic rights of women peasants, farmers, and farmworkers, landless women, indigenous women and black women.

La Via Campesina emphasises the importance of organising and struggle, leading to liberation and awareness and enabling women to participate in politics as historical subjects – with the goal of building a just society, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

The international peasant and farmer movement is very troubled to see that, with the spread of conservative policies which constitute an attack on women’s human rights and their very lives, there is growing oppression of women by capitalism and the patriarchy around the world.

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Peasant women power in Mozambique

Women peasants in Mozambique are rescuing an agroecological model that goes against industrial, largescale food production. They are also rising up in protest against land grabbing, a trend that threatens to displace local farmers. In doing this, these women set Mozambique on a path toward sustainable development, while strengthening their positions, defending native seeds and supporting local, healthy food. 

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-19-Moz_farmers.jpegFirst published by Farming Matters | 31.4 | December 2015

Agroecological methods of farming have always been a part of the social and cultural life in Mozambican rural communities. To strengthen these practices in the face of corporate agriculture, the Mozambican Farmer’s Union, UNAC, has promoted the practices of agroecology, such as the conservation of native seeds and local systems of food production, for a number of years. Women play a key role in many of UNAC’s initiatives.

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Opinion: Women farmers in Europe

All over the world women play a unique and vital role in fixing our broken food system. There is a strong need in Europe to strengthen women farmers in their work, through education and training, argues Hanny van Geel.

2016-02-19-Hanny.jpgFirst published in Farming Matters | 31.4 | December 2015

All over the world women play a unique and vital role in fixing our broken food system. The prevailing view on agriculture and food in Europe and in European institutions is limited to economics and trade. In these places (old) men in suits discuss amongst themselves and take decisions. In social movements working for the environment, development, health, agroecology and food sovereignty, women of all ages are active in various roles in equal in numbers to men, or even as a majority. Women work in urban gardens, sell at farmers’ markets, do catering, process food, they are active in debates and are often leaders in these social movements.

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