Women do much of the farming, fishing and herding that puts food on the table for millions. But if they were given equal access to land, resources and opportunities, their production could really soar.
Women produce much of the food that feeds people in developing countries. And yet, women have far less access to basic farming resources such as land, seeds, fertilizer and credit than men. They are also the first to go hungry when times are tough.
If women farmers were given greater access to resources and decision making, they could increase their own food security and gain greater economic autonomy. This in turn would empower them to participate more fully as members of their communities and contribute to finding local solutions to the global food crisis.
The way to grow
Following a century of increases, crop yields are flat-lining – because intensive farming can only go so far. So it's time to focus on the huge untapped potential of small-scale farmers in developing countries – and especially women, who often do most of the work, for little reward.
By supporting small-scale farmers with sustainable techniques, we can help produce enough to feed a growing population, without pushing our climate further out of control.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that simply providing women farmers with equal access to resources could increase crop yields on their farms by 20 to 30 per cent. This could feed an additional 100 to 150 million people in developing countries. And it would mean healthier families, more opportunities for education, greater economic development and less poverty.
We need to change the way the world thinks about farming. It's time to grow our support for women farmers.
Find Out More:
- What are biofuels?
- What works for women: Proven approaches for empowering women smallholders and achieving food security
- What do agriculture and climate change have to do with women’s right to food?
- Why does the world need food reserves?
- Why are food prices rising?
- Who controls the food system?
- Where are the hungry people?
- Women's Access to Land
- Who is investing in Agriculture?
- Have you eaten? Which of the world's favourite foods have you eaten?
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