Kampala. The former minister for Agriculture, Ms Victoria Sekitoleko, has urged young women to utilise the huge food markets in DR Congo and the East African Community to build their economic capacity.
“Our job is to understand what is going on, quickly grab the opportunities and make sure we promote agribusiness. There are so many opportunities in Adjumani so what women should do is to produce so much and sell it to UNHCR,” Ms Sekitoleko said at the closing ceremony of a Transformative and Alternative Leadership Camp attended by 27 young women in Namugongo on Thursday.
She expressed concern over the big numbers of girls flocking the city in search for jobs yet they could remain in the village and benefit from participating in agribusiness.
Organised by Forum for Women in Democracy (Fowode), the camp aimed at mentoring young leaders who can participate in advancing women’s rights and socioeconomic aspects of the country.
According to a Uganda Bureau of Statistics report, Agricultural Sector: Gender statistics profile (2012), the Population and Housing Census (PHC) 2002, women account for 81 per cent of the agricultural work force, but continue to lag behind.
Commenting on limited access to resources to invest in agribusiness, Ms Sekitoleko said young women should strive to utilise the little they have.
Ms Sekitoleko urged government to empower women economically, a move that has to start with revising the land law to ease access to land since they are the major contributors to the national food basket.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, the Fowode executive director, Ms Patricia Munabi, tasked youthful women to start small and then grow their businesses.
“The youth should not think about the big things out there. There are simple things that they can start with like candle making and change their livelihoods in that way,” she said.
On enjoying benefits of economic development as much as men, the Fowode programme officer policy engagement, Ms Promise Banturaki, said in a country whose budgets are gender neutral, there is need for young women to take an active role in holding leaders accountable in sectors such as agriculture.
“We would like to see the girl become aware that they are part of the critical niche or citizenry and also interrogate the budget as it is being crafted at the local and national level,” she said.
Ms Banturaki said this was critical because women need to know how budget allocations will impact them in the long run.