Through women’s cooperatives, a joint UN programme provides training in agricultural techniques, improved seeds and time-saving machinery, while also granting loans and encouraging saving.
n most parts of the Dodola district, 300 km south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, slow-moving oxen plowing opens stretches of farmland. But in one field, a red tractor is speedily tilling women’s cooperative owned farmland ahead of the rainy season.
For Kamso Bame, a widowed mother of 12 and owner of 2.5 acres of land, the tractor has shaved off days of grueling labour.
Bame is among more than 2,000 smallholder women farmers involved in a joint UN programme to boost sustainable agricultural production and rural women’s economic empowerment, through training and cooperatives.
After Bame joined the women’s cooperative in her village of Wabi Burkitu, she received a 7,000 Birr (259 USD) loan, which she used to start a cart-transport service. Bame uses her daily average income of 400 Birr (15 USD) to support her children, four of whom live independently. Her membership also enables her to cultivate the land using a tractor owned by the cooperative.