From where I stand: “Although women farmers work hard, many remain poor due to multiple barriers”

Mariamu Rasidi Tungu is one of the many women farmers in rural Tanzania. Together, UN Women and UNFPA are jointly supporting them to increase their production, and train them in new skills to boost their incomes, economic resilience and agency.


At the launch of the programme in September 2020, Mariamu Rasidi Tungu was one of the women farmers who came to celebrate support from UN Women. Photo: UN Women.
Mariamu Rasidi Tungu at the launch of the “Realizing Gender Equality through Empowering Women and Adolescent Girls” programme. Photo: UN Women


In Tanzania, women make up more than half of the workforce in the agriculture sector. Majority of these women work on family farms and small plots of land without receiving any payment. Although women farmers in my country work very hard, many remain poor due to multiple barriers, including lack of access to land.

In 2020, I joined forces with three fellow horticultural women farmers to expand our production in the face of a myriad of challenges. Thanks to UN Women’s generous support, our group is one of the women smallholder farmers’ groups benefiting from the ‘Realizing Gender Equality through Empowering Women and Adolescent Girls’ programme in the Singida and Shinyanga regions.

The programme is also supporting us to have control of land. By enabling women to use their [land] titles as collateral when they apply for loans to grow or start their agri-businesses, this programme is a game-changer in the history of land ownership in my community. It is a good starting point towards addressing the negative attitudes that have pushed back women’s contributions in the agriculture sector in Tanzania.

Through this great package of interventions, I anticipate a positive shift in our rural economy. Women smallholder farmers will be able to increase their agricultural production and improve the quality of their lives to benefit their families and communities at large.”

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Mariamu Rasidi Tungu is 48-year-old Tanzanian farmer and mother of seven children. Tungu and other vulnerable women smallholder farmers like her in the Shinyanga and Singida regions have been supported by the joint UN Women and UNFPA programme “Realizing Gender Equality through Empowering Women and Adolescent Girls”, with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The initiative  will also address the intertwined socio-economic challenges that women and adolescent girls face in rural Tanzania, which act as barriers to women’s economic and social empowerment and place them at greater risk of gender-based violence and harmful practices.