Programme to support rural female entrepreneurs announced for State of Jalisco in Mexico
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Mexico, together with Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) have jointly launched a new initiative to provide support for Female Rural Entrepreneurs in Mexico.
This programme for Female Rural Entrepreneurs, is supported and jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland, in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The Programme, which builds on Ireland’s strong international relationship with FAO and draws experience from the successful ACORNs Programme in Ireland, will focus on empowering female entrepreneurs in the Mexican state of Jalisco, through mentorship and peer support improving and enhancing engagement in the rural economy, and increased resilience.
This programme resonates with the recognition in Ireland’s Food Vision 2030 strategy of the key role of women in farming and food.
Launching the programme Minister of State at Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin HeydonT.D. said: "It means a lot to me to be part of an initiative focused on supporting rural women and female entrepreneurs as it is a cause that is very close to my heart.”
"I was born and raised on a farm and when I was eight years old my father passed away. The 1980s was not an easy time to be a female farmer in Ireland. However rather than leasing or selling the farm, my mother took it on as she wanted to raise her three children at the heart of a rural community.”
"I saw first hand, the challenge for my mother, to run her business in a very male dominated industry but also how good she was at it. That is why I passionately believe that the mentorship programme we are launching in Mexico, modelled on our experiences in Ireland, will be hugely beneficial. We have made progress in recognising the important role of women in rural areas, but there is still more that we must do to address barriers to participation in the rural economy."
Speaking at the event, Eduardo Benítez, Assistant Representative of FAO Mexico, explored the programmes main objectives; namely to guarantee and support the livelihoods of rural women and promote gender equality in agricultural activities, and to raise awareness and protect women’s rights and inclusion in value chains.
Alfredo González, General Director in Charge of the Executive Secretariat of the National Council for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also commented: "We commend this new programme supported by the Government in Ireland and contribution to local development and gender equity in Mexico, and its contribution to our strategic areasfor sustainable development"
Ambassador von Heynitz commented “Mexico and Ireland share a deep history of friendship and cooperation including serving together on the UN Security Council, and co-chairing the informal expert group on Women, Peace and Security. I am delighted that the Embassy and Government of Ireland are working together with the Mexican Government on such an important project as securing the livelihoods of rural women through mentorship and building resilience and I look forward to future collaborations between our two Governments”.
Note for Editor
The programme follows on from the ‘Closing Gaps Project’ and continues the social protection agenda for rural women in Jalisco, aiming to guarantee and support the livelihoods of rural women, producers, agricultural labourers, and entrepreneurs through mentoring and peer support to increase their access to decent rural employment.
In Jalisco, there are 3,256,842 women aged 15 and over, of which 47.2% are economically active. Moreover, 11.9% of the population employed in the agricultural sector are women (IIEG, 2020). Jalisco is also the state where agrarian labourers are hired for the longest time per year, an average of 102.76 days per year (ENA, 2019).
The programme will be implemented in conjunction with the government of Jalisco, in coordination with the Jalisco Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) and the Jalisco Ministry of Substantive Equality between Women and Men (SISEMH) as key allies to prioritize value chains in which rural women are identified, promoting their participation strategically, directing actions towards their economic autonomy and equal rights.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine funding of €100,000 was committed as part of the Department’s 2021 contribution to specific FAO projects and programmes:
gov.ie - Minister McConalogue announces International Development Aid payments of €28.9 million (www.gov.ie)
More information on Ireland’s ACORNs programme, which is funded by DAFM under the Rural Innovation and Development Fund: ACORNS – Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups