Rural women talk about gender, climate change and climate variability in Uruguay

From the 14th of August to the 16th of August- Rural women from the dairy, livestock and horticulture production met for a three-day workshop in the Augustin Ferreiro Center in Canelones, Uruguay to strengthen their capacity to participate in sustainable rural development processes, especially in relation to adaptation to climate change and variability. The participants were family farmers from horticulture, livestock or dairy production farms. The activity was attended by 25 women from different regions of the country.

The workshop is part of the Adaptation Dialogue series being held by Uruguay as part of the NAP-Ag project led by the Division of Rural Development and the Agricultural Statistics Division of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP), as well as the National Institute for Women of the Ministry of Social Development with support from FAO and UNDP.  In addition, an Adaptation Fund project “Building Resilience to Climate Change and Variability in Vulnerable Smallholders” and the Interdisciplinary Center for Response to Climate Change and Variability of the University of the Republic contributed to the dialogue by organizing activities during the workshop.

The workshop aimed to raise awareness of the importance of management for adaptation and the sustainable use of natural resources. It also sought to facilitate the critical analysis of women´s role in decision-making. Discussions were held on the perceptions of rural women in production and impact of community involvement and participation to reduce vulnerability.  

Part of the workshop focused on the analysis of the impacts of climate change and variability on women farmers and family farmers and the identification of adaptation alternatives for the livestock, horticultural and dairy systems with a gender perspective.

Cristina a sheep farmer from Paysandú reflected on how “we used to know when to do everything, now is unforeseen. We never had high temperatures in winter so I knew that the insects would not bother the flock at all. In winter we did all the activities knowing that the cold would control the flies, now everything has changed. Now you plan differently, Sunday you used to know that it was free and you spent it with your family or you went to friends' house, now everything is more work”

During the second day of the workshop a field visit was organized to a livestock farm and a horticultural farm located nearby. The latter is the women-organized cooperative “Calmañana” that produces organic aromatic herbs commercialized in markets all over the country. The visits were useful to reflect on practices that contribute to reduce climate vulnerability and to build resilience in family farms.

At the end of the workshop, participants highlighted the importance of:

  • participating actively in collective decision-making spaces;
  • promoting innovations that overcome traditions; 
  • diversifying production in order to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events; 
  • accessing climate information, training and technical assistance; and 
  • overcoming limited access to resources, among other conclusions.

Through these dialogues, MGAP seeks to promote active participation of rural women in their communities, as well as in agricultural production. In addition, the workshop provided a platform to discuss entry points for mainstreaming the gender perspective in national adaptation planning for adaptation in agriculture.

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