Be it vegetables in the desert or cows with their calves in the pasture all year: innovative approaches in agriculture must be courageously implemented to realize more sustainable concepts of food production. Here, the commitment of women farmers plays an increasingly important role. Reason enough for AGYA to bring together encouraging and inspiring female farmers from Arab countries and Germany, and to create a network to exchange ideas of future farming.
To begin with, the preconditions to success in agricultural business vary between the different countries. In Germany, half of the area is used for agricultural purposes. Germany is the world’s third-largest exporter of agricultural goods. Whereas in the Gulf region, only a tiny area is used for agriculture. Here, crop cultivation depends nearly 100 percent on artificial irrigation. The question that arises is, what can female farmers from UAE, Kuwait, Germany, and elsewhere learn from each other?
The AGYA publication ‛Female Voices from the Field: Success Stories and Recommendations of and for Women`s Empowerment in Agriculture’ gives answer to this question. Beside the inspiring and unique success stories of four Arab and German female farmers, the publication presents seven important policy recommendations on how to enhance women’s empowerment in agriculture. The content is based on and compiled from the international and interdisciplinary AGYA conference ‛Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture’. The event brought together farmers, scientists and policy-makers from 16 countries spanning Germany, the Arab world (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE) and beyond (Benin, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nepal) for bottom-up networking and interdisciplinary North-South-South knowledge exchange.
For instance, hydroponics technology, which relies on nutrient-rich and less-quantity water to grow plants with the use of little or no soil, is emerging in the Gulf region. The hydroponics technology has been also attracting increasing attention in urban farming in Germany. In addition to the expertise in modern irrigation systems and hydroponics, the UAE is known for its developed agricultural extension service. The latter boosts productivity, increases food security, and improves rural livelihoods.
In Germany, organic farming in combination with direct marketing of its products (subscription box and door-to-door service) is a growing part of agricultural diversification and marks a structural change. Whether agricultural cooperatives to bundle resources or the establishment of a direct consumer channel, successful agricultural business models can be implemented in all geographical regions. Therefore, AGYA members and alumnae have successfully established a farmer-to-farmer and famer-to-researcher network of exchange.
During the conference, various female farmers shared their unique perspectives, struggles and lessons learned from their work and experiences in different facets of agriculture. Participants found the insight into other women’s real life experiences to be one of the most valuable, inspiring exchanges they had in this regard. These experiences have been put into word:
Have a read and meet a pioneering researcher in sustainable aquaculture in Kuwait; a founder of an agricultural “quinoa cooperative” from Morocco; a German biodynamic and low-stress cattle breeder; and a pioneer of hydroponic farming systems in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
DATE and Venue of the project
25 - 27 October 2019
The International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in Dubai, UAE
Agriculture, Biology, Psychology
United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Morocco, Germany