News / Africa

Agricultural Jobs Offer Independence, Status for Women

Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa<br>Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa
x
Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa<br>
Women are the backbone of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Kim Lewis
A unique survey conducted on thousands of women working in agricultural processing plants from several countries in Africa and India, found that the work offered them opportunities that exceeded financial benefits. Olam International, the agricultural supply chain and food ingredients company, found that women working in its cashew processing plants, said the work they were doing gave them confidence, independence and choices that they would normally not experience. 

Nearly six-thousand women were surveyed from Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania. 

“We asked the women in our cashew processing plant, over and above their wage, what was the single most important factor to them in their employment, and 36% of those women identified that working gives them independence and choices,” explained Briony Mathieson, head of corporate & sustainability communications for Olam International. She added that at a close second, 33% of the women, said the work also gave them status and confidence.

Mathieson explained that the cashew supply chain requires intensive labor for it to be done well. The outer skin of the cashew nut must be peeled without breaking the nut. She said the nut is worth more when it is peeled whole, and the women working in these plants are very skilled in doing this.

In addition to performing unskilled labor, Mathieson pointed out that the women who work in agricultural processing do have opportunities to advance to more skilled positions.

“They are very good managers and they then gain more status within their communities, and obviously we offer them maternity rights and other benefits over and above the wage that they have as they would in any developing country,” said Mathieson.

The survey also found that women are more responsive to the opportunities that training gives them in many cases, than men.

“So women on the shop floor are given the opportunity to progress if they show an interest in doing that. I should point out that many women who do this unskilled work for us are in fact using this as a supplementary income to the fact that they’re also running a family farm. So generally, we build our factories close to where the cashews are actually grown so we could create a local economy,” explained Mathieson.

She said another benefit of working at the cashew processing plants is that 19% of the women found they receive useful information to take back to their families.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid