The Rural Women of Hope Estate

-Promoting Gender equality at Hope Estate

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, December 10, 2019

When one hears the word ‘farmer’ the image that comes to mind is in usually of a man in muddy boots, clad in a straw hat with a cutlass in hand or driving a tractor. The 16 women farmers of the Rural Women of Hope Estate are upturning that stereotype.

Marisa Smart, Cooperative Extension Officer of Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL), gave DPI some insight into the programme.

She explained that it was a collaboration between HCIL and the Canadian funded project – Promotion Opportunities for Produce through Enterprise and Linkages  – focusing on rural agriculture and rural women farmers. The ages of the farmers range from 18 to mid-50s.

It provides women with a sense of responsibility and teaches them money management. Equipment is donated or rented for a small fee, which is used solely for maintenance.

“They [PROPEL] donated a shade house along with some tools so that we could empower the women. So, in a sense, they don’t have to depend on their husbands who are relatively the sole breadwinners and also farmers in this area.

With the shade house, the farmers normally plant callaloo, poi [and] celery, since the bins are not deep enough for deep-rooted crops,” Smart clarified.

Crops like papaya, boulanger, and ochro are planted in the fields.

According to Smart, the rural women’s programme was a significant asset for HCIL as they pursue gender equality in the farming sector.

Going into 2020, Smart said, “we are hoping that the women will continue farming and eventually, if we have more partnership, or person willing to donate, we can extend.”