Strengthening capacities of women from rural areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina and creating agriculture development strategies with an emphasis on gender equality are among the main goals of the project “Women Driving Resilience in Agriculture and Rural Areas”, which officially kicked off today in Sarajevo.
Women make up as much as 49.8% of the population in rural areas, and only 38.3% of women are owners or co-owners of agricultural land. Of the actively employed women in BiH, 20.5% of them work in agriculture, while only 18.3% of agricultural farms are run by women. The joint project of UN Women BiH and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), financed by Sweden, aims to remove the structural barriers faced by women in rural areas through the introduction of technologies that would save time and make their work easier, as well as to present innovative sources of financing. Through training women in rural areas to better cope with the specific challenges of doing business in agriculture, the project will improve living standards, as well as the socio-economic position of families in rural areas.
“It is a great honor for us that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina will take part in the Steering Committee of this project, and that we will provide our expertise in its implementation. We are also glad that we will have the opportunity to expand cooperation with entity ministries in the creation of strategies for agriculture that will especially focus on gender equality,” said Slobodan Cvijanović, Assistant Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
„Today the UN team in Bosnia and Herzegovina is strengthening our support to the critical role of women in agriculture and rural development. Whilst just over 20 percent of women in BiH work in agricultural activities in rural areas, according to the Sarajevo Economic Institute (2018), many are engaged in the lower value chain activities with less decision-making authority and profitability. Women in rural areas therefore represent an important, yet still untapped, resource for the country. The UN is looking forward to working with all stakeholders, especially rural communities, agricultural producers, government counterparts and the women themselves, to improve the lives of women in rural areas across BiH, which will in turn benefit the broader social and economic development of the country,“ said Ingrid Macdonald, UN BiH Resident Coordinator.
“Equal opportunities for all, including gender equality, is important to Sweden and is an integral part of everything we support. That is why we are pleased to fund this project that will empower women in agriculture and rural areas to better manage challenges they are facing. The aim of the project is an improved environment for women and girls engaged in agricultural activities supporting them in advancing their socio-economic position,” said Eva Gibson Smedberg, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Sarajevo.
A meeting of the project’s Steering Committee was also held today, consisting of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, Agency for Gender Equality of BiH, Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry of FBiH, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of RS, as well as representatives of Sweden and UN agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
These activities are part of continuous work of UN Women on economic empowerment of women in BiH, as well as continuous support to women in agriculture and in rural areas, supported by Sweden. Since 2021, UN Women has been working to establish cooperation in this area with municipalities and cities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina from both entities.