The Road to the Market - Launch of a national strategy to support rural women in the Syrian Arab Republic through food production, packaging and promotion

The Road to the Market - Launch of a national strategy to support rural women in the Syrian Arab Republic through food production

04/03/2019

During a follow-up workshop entitled “The Road to the Market”, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MAAR), under the Government of Japan-funded programme, trained more than 200 rural women producers and technicians on food production, packaging and promotion.

Thirteen working groups consisting of rural women and technicians from across the country gathered at Khan Asaad Pacha – a historical site in the old city of Damascus – from 27 February to 1 March 2019. The follow-up workshop aimed at developing their entrepreneurial skills and promoting their fresh food products (jams, sauces, cheese, etc.) was held in front of experts from ministries, United Nations agencies and international Non-governmental Organizations.

The event was also an opportunity for MAAR to launch its national strategy on the empowerment of rural women in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Strategy aims to enhance the availability of Syrian agricultural products produced by rural women to improve the income of small-scale producers and reduce rural poverty, particularly among female-headed households.

Through access to agricultural inputs, training and opportunities, rural women will be able to make a significant contribution to the development and scaling up of the agriculture sector, which in return will provide them with essential opportunities to reach their highest potential.

Mike Robson, the FAO Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic, highlighted that the partnership with MAAR would increase women’s food production. With the right tools, knowledge and inputs, rural women would significantly contribute to their families and the surrounding community’s food security and nutrition.

“Rural women have the right to access opportunities and resources to shape their lives and secure better living circumstances. With the launch of the MAAR national strategy, rural women can become more independent, self-reliant, self-confident and professional agri-business partners,” said Robson.

Women have suffered from a lack of access to resources besides the difficult circumstances many have faced due to displacement and disruption of family life. Children were taken out of schools and young girls married out of concern for their safety. We must position ourselves to support rural women and improve their opportunities to make their lives better,” said Ahmed Al Qaderi, Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform.

“By improving the situation of rural women, together we will create stronger and more cohesive communities,” Al Qaderi added. “Once rural women have access to resources, inputs, training and a road to the market, they will contribute to increasing the variety of available local food products, making their community stronger. Thanks to the increased income, families will become more secure with their necessary living requirements”.

Both counterparts emphasized that the most important outcome of this workshop is to spread the culture of participatory work among women to improve their products, meet market demands and develop businesses, which will bring a range of benefits to the wider community.