8th March, International Womens’ Day – a flurry of activities surrounds this day with congratulatory wishes being exchanged, messages urging you to acknowledge her achievements.

This is a day set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of the women. Some have chosen this day as a day of advocacy for the rights of women; better working conditions, better opportunities and continuous support for women in all spheres and walks of life.

The International Women’s Day represents another opportunity to reflect on progress made by women and to celebrate their acts of courage, resilience, tenacity and extraordinary contributions to their various communities.

Kenyan vegetable farmer harvesting spinach with her wheelbarrow

On the other hand, found in the hinterlands, toiling quietly in the sun, oblivious to the hype surrounding this day, is an ordinary woman, playing an extra ordinary role in feeding her family and the country – the woman farmer. She needs no introduction. Nor does she seek an appreciation for her work. Talk to some of them and you will unearth inspiring stories of women who work against odds, yet tirelessly keep moving ahead.

Life for a typical woman farmer is not easy. Managing responsibilities at home and in the farm, facing gender bias, being paid less, hardly having a say in decisions related to farming and so much more. The role these women play in improving their own livelihoods, in contributing to their family income and even in contributing to the country’s growth is huge, yet she remains invisible!

There is no dispute that the woman farmer makes a vital contribution to the country’s economy. She wields the power to shape sustainable development in rural areas. A FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) report says that if women were given equal access to resources as men, agricultural yield in developing countries could feed at least 100 million more undernourished people.

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The possibilities of growth for these unsung heroines are limitless if given the right kind of opportunities. This Women’s day let’s celebrate the journey of our women farmers and recognise their contribution!

Happy Women’s Day to all our Women Farmers! We celebrate you all!!

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