Women Ask Government to Banish Hand Hoe

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In short
The activist at a press conference in Kampala said rural women that make over 70 percent of the farmers in the country are bearing the brunt of the hand-held hoe. They say the women plant seeds by hand, weed by hand and harvest by hand.

Women activist groups in the country want an end to hand hoe-led agriculture saying it is one of the tools hindering the attainment of middle income status for Uganda. 

Under their umbrella body Uganda Women's Network (UWONET), women say the hand-held hoe should no longer be a tool of production.

They told journalists at a press conference in Kampala, that rural women that make over 70 percent of the farmers in the country are bearing the brunt of the hand-held hoe. They say the women plant seeds by hand, weed by hand and harvest by hand.

Uganda Women's Network Executive Director, Rita Aciro Lakor said it is an embarrassment that hand hoe is still encouraged as a preferred tool in agriculture at a time when other countries are mechanizing agriculture.
 
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Eunice Musiime, the Executive Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika says labour intensive agriculture is not yielding much to the farmers yet it comes with spinal cord injuries and premature ageing.

Musiime says mechanization of the agriculture would ensure more productivity and open up more land to agriculture. She says it is an acceptable for country like Uganda to have ten million of its people faced with hunger.
 
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The women from various organizations were speaking at the launching of activities ahead of World Women's slated for this Wednesday. Their call comes at the time when government has allocated ten billion Shillings towards the purchase of hand hoes for distribution to farmers in the coming financial year.

The allocation however contradicts a commitment by President Museveni and other African Heads of States at the May 2015 Summit to end use of the hand hoe by 2025. The summit was held under the theme, "Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063". The use of the handheld hoe is one of the problems highlighted in Agenda 2063.

Jeff Wadulo, speaking on behalf of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) said funding to agriculture has over the years not been increasing at the time when some countries are getting concerned about the ageing profile of their farmers.
 
Wadulo said agriculture should be transformed so that it is attractive not only to women and young people. The solution according to Wadulo is looking at agriculture as a business and investing in modern technologies.

Apart from the hand hoes, the women activists want government to live up to the African Union commitment towards allocating 10 percent of the annual budgets to agriculture, and to target annual agriculture growth of 6 percent.