Every day, Sarmaya Kahramanova cares for her sheep and cattle in a small village in Azerbaijan. She milks her cows to produce fresh sour clotted milk, cheese and cream to sell to support her family.
On International Day of Rural Women (October 15), FINCA honors the hard-work of rural women, like Sarmaya. She is one of millions of women in the developing world who depend on farming and agriculture for income. In fact, over a quarter of the world’s population are rural women.
These hardworking women are the backbone of rural communities, often playing dual roles of smallholder farmers – cultivating crops, caring for livestock and producing food – while taking care of the children and other family members at home.
Without these women, many economies would collapse. In Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, for example, women are a crucial component of the agricultural food industry and produce up to 80 percent of agricultural food products.
Despite playing such critical roles, a rural woman’s chances of receiving credit to support her farming business are markedly lower than a man’s even though they provide a substantial portion— or all—of the family’s income.
Luckily for Sarmaya, she was able to receive loans from FINCA to purchase additional livestock. With the extra funds, Sarmaya doesn’t just produce dairy for her customers. She is now breeding cattle to sell, as another stream of income to support her growing family.