In 2016 I travelled to Kenya and Uganda shooting for Action Aids AACES program on sustainable farming. The program specifically targets women smallholder farmers who have great farming capacity, but carry a double load as both carers and also often as primary food producers in their communities. A prolonged underinvestment in agriculture, systematic discrimination and gender blind policies, along with the climate change and erratic weather patterns, is compounded to make women smallholder farmers particularly vulnerable to food insecurity - and poverty more generally. This program was involved but was not limited to education on sustainable farming practices, education on equality and closing the gender gap, economic empowerment and the representation of women as landowners.
Teddy is one of the many women small hold farmers in sub-Saharan Africa finding new and innovative ways to adapt to a challenging climate and increasing unpredictable ad extreme weather. Teddy is uncharge of the weather station in Kumi where she teachers farmer how to take weather readings. Pictured here with her twins Teddy also carries the domestic load of the house and is primary carer for her children
Mercy, a small holds farmer in Uganda looks over her farm. Mercy grows corn, papaya, green beans and cassava. She also breeds rabbits for food. Mercy is looking to expand her farm to include catfish though is having trouble with drought and keeping her dams full.
Mercy collects water from her dam. Her dam liner was bought with the support of Action Aid earlier this year. Mercy is looking to fill the dam with catfish and to start farming them though little rain fall means the dam has yet to be filled.
Women take loans and repayments at a new table banking scheme in Isiolo which lies 285 kilometres north of Nairobi.
Rhoda Mwende is a catfish farmer from Kanyonga village in Mbeere South Sub-County. She has mastered the complex art of breeding and hatching the young fish.
The single mother of three, who just five years ago depended on food aid, sold 40,000 catfish fingerlings to local farmers after the September rains, earning her KES 400,000.
Rhoda has mastered the entire catfish breeding process - from injecting the female fish with hormones to stimulate egg production, to squeezing eggs out of the fish and removing semen manually from male fish to fertilize the eggs. Here she is pictured preparing the sailing for the 'operation'. She says the males regrow their entire reproductive system with 6 months.
Rhoda standing by her hatching tanks
A farmer collects dried casaba
A farmer looks over young organic maize field.
Disability farming groups are available through the support of Action Aid to help teach nessicary farming skills to those suffering from disability.
A farmer tethers her goat.
Mary, bean farmer from Uganda
Agnes is a small farm owner in Uganda. Her husband drinks and sleep a lot. Agnes manages the farm and takes care of their 4 children.
Womens farming group.
Women smallholder farmers produce close to 80% of the continent’s food. From sowing, weeding and fertilizing, to processing and transporting, these women form the backbone of Africa’s food security and production industry. Despite their vital contribution, most African women lack secure rights to their land and any access is usually through a male relative.
Some of the women pictured here along with others from across the globe will be trekking in solidarity to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro to help them raise their voice for land rights