“Rural women’s products have no markets.” [Archives:1998/15/Business & Economy]

April 13 1998

Ahlam Al-Mutawakil,
Yemen Times
Organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, in collaboration with the Dutch project to support the Directorate of Rural Women Development at the Ministry, a training course was held in Sanaa from 31 March to 2 April.
An exhibition of handicrafts by rural women also accompanied the course, which was attended by representatives of rural women directorates in the republic.

In the discussions and debates, the participants stressed the importance of planning special projects for rural women. They demanded that the relevant official and NGO bodies provide the necessary backing. The participants then proceeded to specify the types of projects required, their goals, and the possible outcomes.

Ms. Fat’hya Arshed, the head of the Directorate of Rural Women Development in Lahaj, later told the Yemen Times, “This course has been too short to cover all the relevant topics. I hope that similar courses will be held in the near future, and the recommendations will be implemented in all villages.” Indeed, it was learned that the Ministry and the Dutch are planning other similar endeavors.
The participants noted that the activities of rural women are alike in most parts of the country. They also noted that the obstacles facing the development of rural women are also similar. Key among these obstacles is the difficulty to market their products, whether agricultural or hand-made. “This causes a lot of frustration and disappointment for the women. They need marketing outlets and credit facilities,” insisted a Taiz participant.

That is why most of the discussion soon focussed on the need to start small projects and to provide them with agricultural and marketing facilities. Many projects for women that are operational, already have a lot of products piled up awaiting to be marketed.
Some women have abandoned their activities of traditional handicrafts for lack of markets. One problem is transportation, another is inventory, a third, is credit facility, and a fourth, is book-keeping. In addition, there is the need to coordinate the products sent to the market, because these projects tend to produce the same goods for a limited market demand.
Women complained about the lack of transportation facilities to take their produce to town markets.
“There must be more encouragement and coordination through the Directorate of Rural Women Development at the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant bodies,” said Ms. Fat’hya Arshed.

After the deliberations, the following recommendations were made:
1- The Ministry of Agriculture should exert efforts for the return of the properties and assets that were taken from the Directorate of Rural Women Development by other governmental bodies.
2- The Directorate of Rural Women Development will further prepare the projects discussed and suggested by the participants and submit them to the Ministry of Agriculture.
3- Rural women are to be encouraged to join agricultural cooperatives.
4- More opportunities (and authority) must be given to the rural development offices in the governorates to practice their activities independently from the agricultural offices.