Local women farmers bound for Zim


MASERU—African Women Farmers Allies (AWFA) Lesotho is set to chair a side event for women farmers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region at the 7th SADC Industrialisation Week 2024 which will take place in Harare, Zimbabwe, from July 29 to August 2.

The theme of the event is “Promoting innovation to unlock opportunities for sustainable economic growth and development towards an industrialised SADC.”

In an interview with Public Eye, AWFA Lesotho President Motšelisi Mokhele-Peete explained that AWFA will chair only the side event for women farmers in the SADC Region, not the entire conference.

This event will focus on topics such as access to markets and financial literacy.

“AWFA Lesotho submitted a proposal to the SADC Secretariat to share with other women and youth farmers from member states the knowledge and experiences we have gathered. This includes insights from attending a Fin Equity event in Ethiopia sponsored by Boliba Savings and Credit Bank. We are currently working with them as potential future partners in financial inclusion for women, particularly farmers in remote rural areas,” said Mokhele-Peete.

Due to financial constraints, eight to 10 women and youth farmers from Lesotho are expected to attend the SADC Industrialisation Week.

These farmers will showcase work done in Lesotho and develop practical strategies for financial and digital inclusion for farmers.

Mokhele-Peete highlighted the reliance on private sector organisations to assist with travel and accommodation for local farmers, with the SADC Secretariat covering the remaining costs.

She emphasised the importance of securing sponsorships, noting that without them, Lesotho’s farmers would miss valuable opportunities for economic growth, international market access, and high-level networking.

She further stated that local sponsors, such as service providers in Lesotho, would also miss out on the chance to share their journey, milestones, and impact within the region, and to promote their services and products to a broader audience.

“I have attended several SADC Industrialisation Week events in different member states. These events have provided personal, business, and professional opportunities. One significant outcome was the establishment of AWFA, which is now registered in Lesotho, Botswana, and Namibia. We look forward to launching AWFA Zimbabwe in 2024. My regional business network has grown, and soon my services and products will be available in other countries,” Mokhele-Peete added.

AWFA’s mandate is to advocate for women and youth who cannot advocate for themselves and to train them to reduce household food insecurity and increase their livelihoods.

AWFA aims to build a new tribe of women farmer warriors—those who are business-tested, skilled, and ready for local and international markets.