The Kenyan Women and youth have been urged to embrace technology to market their farm produce amid the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ndaya Beltchika, lead technical specialist, gender and social inclusion at International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad)) said technology is the next frontier for rural farmers.
Speaking in Rome, Italy during an online session organized by the Thomson Reuters Foundation as part of a Covid-19 professional development program run in association with Ifad., Ms. Beltchika said governments must appreciate that youth are more interested in projects that are connected to technology and endeavor to support them as they seek access to market.
She further added that it is pertinent to involve the women and youth in order to ensure that their needs are met.
Ms Beltchika also asked governments to include women and the youth in their decision making platforms and empower them to market their farm produce using technology. She said Ifad requires that all project activities financed in response to Covid-19 meet specific minimum gender and youth criteria including that it is gender mainstreamed in all aspects of the project, outreach with 40 percent women and 40 percent youth.
Globally, Ifad is spending nearly US$6Bn to empower women. Last year, the fund investments amounted to US$1.6 billion compared to US$ 1Bn in 2018.
Ms Beltchika said Ifad has been collaborating with country representatives in various regions to ensure projects run by women do not collapse. However, most of the agency’s projects have since been repurposed over the COVID-19 period to ensure that farmers benefit from loans offered through the different governments.
Although the government doesn’t give handouts to rural farmers, Ms Beltchika said liquidity from projects is being directed to rural projects by financial institutions so that women and youth can receive some ease of the repayment without putting the financial institutions in jeopardy.