By HELEN ZULU and LEWIS PHIRI –
MUSIKA Development Initiatives Zambia has called on the private sector to develop business models that will incorporate the gender aspect in their day to day business to encourage women participation in national development.
Musika managing director Reuben Banda said there was value in incorporating everyone in participating in agriculture investments, decision making, marketing and investing of resources.
Mr Banda said according to studies initiated by Musika, there were a lot of imbalances that were happening in the country especially in the agricultural sector in terms of the investment paradigm shift.
He said this during the launch of the Training of Trainers (ToT) manual on gender in agribusiness in Lusaka yesterday.
“We have noticed that there are slot of imbalances that are happening in the country especially in the agricultural sector in terms of the investment paradigm shift, you will find that when it comes to production, women and children are the ones in the forefront doing the job but when it comes to decision making in terms of what to invest and how to market the crops, the men take the responsibility and sometimes the resources end up being misappropriated.
“It is against this background that Musika sort to commission a number of studies on gender and the findings showed that ultimately there is value in incorporating everyone to participate in agriculture investments, decision making, marketing and investing of these resources.
“Because of that, we came up with a model that would be shared with the private sector to see how they can incorporate the gender aspect to their day to day business activities,” Mr Banda said.
He said the ToT manual had been developed to support companies and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector to incorporate gender in the development and implementation of their business strategies as well as address the gender training needs.
Mr Banda said the manual was participatory in nature and would be used by the company nominated focal persons to internally build capacities on creating lucrative business models that considered gender dynamics.
He said this was aimed at not only bringing about the companies efficient and effective use of resources in their efforts to market and sale products and services to small holder farmers but also improve the company’s corporate image in society well.
And Gender Consultant Namwiinga Mumbi said incorporating gender into company business and marketing models in input and out put markets only served to improve the image and profits of the company.
“Investing in a balanced business or marketing model promotes the increased profits as both women and men are engaged directly by the company.
“Try It and you will not be disappointed but you need to think about it as an investment first rather than a cost,” Ms Mumbi said.