The activities of 63-year-old Easther Tuiya and other members of the Elenarai Cooperative Women Society have turned the tide for Kenyan women farmers, in terms of economic opportunities and income generation in agriculture. And thankfully, they are not alone. In the East African country, whose economically dominant agricultural sector previously operated on a default practice of sidelining womenfolk, women in agriculture are increasingly recording admirable achievements.
This equals good news for women empowerment, gender equality, and an overall balance of Kenya’s economic climate.
For instance, the practice of conservation agriculture has become more prominent amongst female farmers in the country, and the Muchore Mutethia have made their way around middlemen to secure their income by being sole producers of food crop for a renowned brewery.
All of these feats see Kenyan women farmers come a long way from agricultural restrictions that left them selling charcoal and firewood for a living, and arriving at a place where they make immense contributions to the country’s economy and environment. Also, their self-sustenance is assured.
The frequent droughts and growing food insecurity in Kenya moved women farmers to discover other options to what was once a common trade for them. This was especially since the climatic conditions further prevent the business from thriving, and the journey to gather wood has become a risky venture for the women.
To solve their problems, Easther Tuiya and her group of former charcoal and firewood traders started out with the vision to repair their landscape through the planting of trees and harvesting rain water. Since 2011, Kenya has been experiencing the severe downsides of global warming and climate change in the form of water shortages, which has in turn left millions of Kenyans in need of food aid.
The Elenarai Cooperative Women Society soon branched out into dairy farming with the purchase of one cow to each member at $29. Their economic tales changed for the better after this move. Presently, women such as Easther Tuiya boast possession of herds of cattle and hundreds of trees.
Such achievements are significant to causes across the continent and the world which push for equal access to agriculture for women, particularly as this impacts global agricultural output and provides them with deserved opportunities for economic inclusion.
This new development in agriculture now places Kenyan women in a powerful position which helps to alleviate the struggles of women. It also uplifts girls whose erstwhile only option was to engage in the collection and trade of firewood and charcoal, and give them the promise of a better economic future in their country’s most crucial industry.