Eva Daudi: the key role of women in agriculture and agroecology

​"Women produce food, but they also secure food for the world. Women have to learn the importance of agroecology in the world in order to bring the safety of food to their family and the world." An interview with Eva Daudi, small-scale farmer in Tanzania and President of the Rural Women's Farmers Forum.

11 October 2017 - In October 2016 nearly 400 local women farmers from 22 African countries convened at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to share the struggles that they face and to call on their decision-makers to stand up for women’s land rights. One of those women was Eva Mageni Daudi, President of the Rural Women’s Farmers forum.
Eva has her own farm in Tanzania and she’s also a fierce advocate for women farmers in her community. "She recently helped a woman get her land back when it was taken by her husband." says this Action Aid USA's article. "The land had been given to her by the government. Eva presented the woman’s case to the village council – an all-male body that women weren’t previously allowed to address – and won."

In an interview with her by Valentina De Gregorio for Terra Nuova, she highlights the importance of agroecology and the role of women.

What do you produce and where? Do you use agroecological practices in your daily work?

According to the season, I produce different crops. They mostly are maize, peas, sesame, sorghum and pineapple. The period of production lasts 3 or 4 months.Before planting, I need to be careful to the prediction of climate and the demands of the market. If the market demands something in particular, I will go for it. I do not use artificial irrigation and I wait for the rains to come, in order to accumulate water. I try to use agroecological practices in my daily work as much as possible, but I also need to face climate change issues. For this reason, I use organic fertilizers, but I can only sow hybrid seeds, which are more resistant and able to grow in a shorter period of time.

How do you face problems like drought or flood through agroecology?

I have some trees that help me to keep the ground wet, preserving it from the high temperatures and the erosion of the soil. The infrastructures I built over the years can collect the rain water, even if sometimes it’s not enough. Before the coming of the rain, I prepare the land, in order to make it ready for the sowing. When finally it starts raining, then I plant seeds.

Seeds: how do you save and reproduce seeds in your field? Which are the main ways to save seeds in your country by small-scale producers?

I do not usually save seeds. I do it only for certain productions, such as pineapples for example, by cutting thetop part of the fruit and planting it again. Otherwise, I sow hybrid seeds for fighting climate change, even with their negative characteristics. They need to be treated and they cannot be planted again, thus I have to buy them before the production period, paying a lot. Once I tried to remove some seeds from a watermelon, I planted them again but the fruit was not yellow anymore. In my country, we have the norm of saving seeds (such as rice), by keeping them in a bag. But now the hybrid seed came, because of the climate change.

Are there legal obstacles, in your country, to save seeds? How do you face them?

In my country, there are nolegal obstacles, the government is allowing and emphasising the norm of saving seeds, but in the reality,it is almost impossible to keep them because of climate change.

How do you feel as a farmer and as a woman? What is, in your understanding, the role of women in agroecology? What should be changed/achieved?

As a farmer, I feel like the world is expecting something from me. Without me, my role and my work the communitycannot live, because it needs food every day. I am animportantperson in my country, in my family and in the world. I am feeding people, I feel special. I am a family holder, hence without me, as a woman, nothing can happen in the world. For this reason, I feel so proud for what I am and doing. I do not regret anything.

Women play a big role in agriculture and agroecology: women produce food, but they also secure food for the world. Women have to learn the importance of agroecology in the world in order to bring the safety of food to their family and the world. We need to raise awareness in our families and daily lives about that.


For much information about Eva Daudi and women and agroecology, we suggest this article by Alberta Guerra for Action Aid USA.

Photo credit | @Georgina Goodwin/ActionAid