Improving access to finance for women farmers in Africa is critical to sustaining food security and empowering women to improve productivity in agriculture as they account for 70 percent of the farming labor force in most African countries. Although they play a significant role in farming, they are still often perceived as not being “real farmers”.
In the case of Liberia, one of the world’s food insecure countries, women face many challenges in growing food. Many of them are producers, processors and marketers but lack basic farming skills, access to finance and limited opportunity for land ownership in agriculture due to cultural and traditional beliefs.
Tetee Mulbah is a member of the New Generational Women Farmers Group that benefited from a recent distribution of money accrued from a Village Saving Loan Association (VSLA) in Clay Ashland, rural Montserrado County.
The group comprises 24 women specialized in cassava production in order to raise income for the support of their families.
Last November, they distributed L$286, 820 (US$3414 at L$84 per US$1) among themselves to engage into meaningful farming activities.
Village Saving Loan Association (VSLA) is being introduced by some international donors because of the scarcity of commercial banks in rural areas. With the VSLA rural farmers can access more finance to purchase agriculture inputs and hire laborers.
“Hiring workers is a challenge for us women farmers in our community so I am going to use the money acquired from saving to expand my farmland. This will help reduce poverty in my family,” said Tetee Mulbah, a member of the group.
Tetee got L$11,950 (US$142.3) which according to her will help her to cultivate large area in the next farming season.