“It is not easy to be a woman on a communal farm. Traditionally, women were not allowed to engage in agriculture, especially cattle rearing. When people started farming, women were expected to do tasks like ploughing the land, but they could not farm alone,” says Myriam, a livestock farmer.
In fact, she farms with small and large cattle (cows and goats). She grew up in a village whose inhabitants have been farmers all their lives as ship owners. It was in these circumstances that she developed a strong interest in agriculture.
As a woman on a communal farm, you live with other people. People tend to rob women farmers more, thinking they can get away with it. Other challenges are: access to land and finance. Most of the time, the requirements to apply for a loan tend to favour men. We therefore need women-friendly financing opportunities; this remains a huge challenge in Namibia. This makes the need to invest in irrigation higher and more expensive.
Being a woman farmer in Namibia remains an exciting journey. I am convinced that we need to encourage and support women to take up farming if we are to effectively address the SDGs, especially hunger and poverty.