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Celebrating International Rural Women Day at UHBDP
According to the UN, women comprise an average of 43% of the agricultural force in developing countries. There is no denying that women play a pivotal role in local economies – particularly in rural, agricultural communities.
In southern Ukraine, 60% of MEDA’s clients live in rural areas. In many countries, women are the predominant caregivers and stewards of the home in addition to generating income.
MEDA’s Ukrainian Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP) has become a platform for knowledge exchange for thousands of women from rural and urban areas, giving them self-confidence and support in their business initiatives. Together they encourage each other to not stop and not be afraid of change, because change is worth it.
“If I knew this before, I would have built a different life" – is a phrase I have heard many times from the women we serve through UHBDP. I watch them challenge barriers and skepticism in their families. I watch them escape the gray of everyday life and witness their strength, courage and knowledge. I know they are creating a new way in Ukraine.
In the pictures below, I have shared a couple reasons why I'm excited about the UHBDP project:
Access to land
Land is the main resource for agricultural producers. Through our resources and events, UHBDP teaches and promotes environmentally friendly technologies, including their use and benefits. Using an e-voucher program, clients can purchase and use various environmentally friendly agrochemicals, equipment and technologies.
Crop production choices
Female clients of UHBDP are increasingly choosing niche crops for their agribusiness as they require less physical effort and time. However, field vegetables, needed to prepare our national dish – “borscht”, such as onion, potato, carrot and cabbage are a classic set of any farm. So, borsch will be on our tables at all times!
Access to market
Horticultural business has five major sales channels: the open/wholesale market, traders, supermarkets/retail, HoReCa and exports. Most of our female clients are now trading on an open market where prices are significantly lower than on other named markets. In order for women to enter more lucrative markets, our value chain development specialists are working to create sustainable supply chains.
Access to finance
The Ukrainian project of fruit and vegetable business development has prepared an informational brochure on state programs for agricultural producers. This brochure easies the access to information and helps with decision making which program to go for.