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Finding Tanzania’s Female Food Hero

Women rice farmers in Tanzania. Photo: Oxfam
Women rice farmers in Tanzania

Oxfam ambassador, actress Kristin Davis (aka Charlotte from  Sex and the City) teamed up with the leading Tanzanian actor, Steven Kanumba, to launch a nationwide competition to find Tanzania’s “Female Food Hero of the Year”.

The new annual award, launched in Makumbusho village, is part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign and aims to honour outstanding women food producers, with members of the public voting for their favourite candidate. It’s designed to empower, inspire and support women farmers and pastoralists by recognising their contributions to society.

It is time to focus on the huge untapped potential of small scale farmers in developing countries, especially women who often do most of the work for little reward. With equal rights, women producers could feed themselves, their families and up to 150 million additional people. With the right investment, the output of small scale farmers could soar.

Kristin Davis, who met smallholder farmers and pastoralists in Morogoro region, told the crowd at the launch: “I have met with inspiring women farmers in Morogoro. I am so thrilled Oxfam is launching the Female Food Hero initiative to encourage and give recognition to the women who grow so much of the food we eat in this beautiful land, despite the challenges they face.”

Standing with her was Steven Kanumba, Oxfam’s Amabassador for the GROW campaign, which promotes a future where everyone has enough to eat.

He said: “Our mothers have been farmers in difficult circumstances for a long time without complaining or being discouraged. Their contribution has not been visible or appreciated by society. That is why I am now encouraging all Tanzanian women, with their husbands’ support, to participate in the Female Food Hero of the Year Award, in order to motivate other women in their communities and to create awareness of women’s role in the agricultural sector.”

About the award:

Women farmers and pastoralists from all over Tanzania are invited to nominate themselves or women they know. Candidates should be using good or innovative methods of farming, animal husbandry and food processing; or acting as leaders or change agents in their communities on tackling the challenges facing small scale producers.

Members of the public are encouraged to vote and the top 10 finalists will participate in a training camp in Dar es Salaam in September to learn new skills on agriculture and livestock production, enterprise and social development. As well as the opportunity to win valuable prizes, the winners will also act as ambassadors for food security in Tanzania.

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Written by Rose Kibe

Rose is Oxfam's funding and communications coordinator in Tanzania

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