On average, women add up to a greater percentage of the agricultural labour force in Kenya. This indicates that if women are given the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields in their farm hence raising the total agricultural output. Women are recognized to be major producers of food and therefore help in increasing household income, yet their efforts are always hampered by the lack of access to productive resources, technologies, agricultural information and services. Empowering women farmers can increase their income, develop a stable rural livelihood and contribute to ensuring food security.
According to the Constitution of Kenya, 2010; Article 35 (1) states that every citizen has the right of access to information held by the state and information held by another person. Knowledge of farming techniques is critical to productivity; however, women farmers have inadequate access to agricultural extension and training services. It is also important that training and agricultural technologies are accessible and adapted to rural women’s needs and constraints. PlantVillage has rolled out educational and training programs geared towards empowering women farmers. It helps them learn how to manage their crops thus increasing their production.
The training is usually conducted by field officers (Dream Team). After knowledge dissemination, women farmers become enlightened on the various pests and diseases, and how to manage them. Through the training, women are able to make informed decisions on crop production. The field officers also visit farmers' fields to check on progress.
Furthermore, PlantVillage has provided women with equitable access to agricultural resources such as cassava cuttings etc. Through this, women are able to take part in a crop production with a sense of ownership. Women under the PlantVillage have control over income generated from crops. This creates economic and social security to the women involved in agricultural activities. Women have a chance to use the yields for domestic consumption or sell in the open market.
The 21st century is characterized by evolving technology and the Dream Team has not departed from this venture. Women farmers under PlantVillage have been given access to smartphones equipped with PlantVillage Nuru application. The application uses artificial intelligence to recognize symptoms of the leaf damage caused by diseases and pests. With this kind of technology women farmers are able to monitor their crops. This gives them an easy time to manage the health of their crops thus increasing yields. With easy access to this technology, women are able to perform their triple role with no unprecedented destruction.
Written by: Faith Aroni