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EU Ambassador commends participation of women, girls in agri-business

16/10/2020 - 11:05
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EU Ambassador to Eswatini, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, joined the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Jabulani Mabuza, and other dignitaries in presenting awards to the winners of the 2020 Women Farmer of the Year Competition organized by the Women Farmer Foundation founded by renowned businesswoman, Sonia Paiva. This colourful event took place at the Riders Ranch in Manzini on 15 October 2020.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s competition attracted more than 200 women competitors some of whom were young women including graduates of the University of Eswatini.

The overall winners were Baluleka Zama Mohale (in the senior category) who walked away with a trophy and a prize worth SZL 134 000 and Rose Maseko (in the junior category) who also won herself a trophy and a prize of SZL 72 000.

Making her speech during the event, EU Ambassador Hernandez Aragones congratulated Sonia Paiva and her Woman Farmer Foundation for successfully hosting this event since 2007. The Ambassador said this event is not just about the prizes but speaks to issues of women empowerment and the role of agriculture in the development of the broader economy of Eswatini.

She said both agriculture and the empowerment of women were at the heart of the EU cooperation with the Kingdom of Eswatini.

“The empowerment of women through agriculture will close the productivity gap between men and women. But this will not be achieved if women are still constrained by the lack of land ownership, limited involvement in decision-making and access to finances. Eliminating these constraints will enhance women’s participation in the growth of the country’s economy and will ultimately reduce poverty in the country,” said the Ambassador.

She also commended the initiative to include young women in agri-business, saying such a move was a good step in the right direction as it empowers the younger generation who are the future of this country and its economy.

“Investment in young women will ultimately increase agricultural production through new technologies as we all know young people like to explore new technologies,” said the Ambassador.

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