Agriculture and Women in Agriculture

by Developed Africa 15. January 2014 09:00

Last year marked 10 years since African countries agreed to ensure that 10% of their budget would go towards agriculture and supporting small holder farmers. 10 years on, and only 9 have managed to keep to this pledge. It is feared that if the promises are not met, hunger will continue to reign. Without subsidies and help from the government small holder farmers tend to struggle with their produce. 

they have not fulfilled their 2003 pledge to increase support for small-holder farmers, especially for women who do much of the farming on the continent"

Action Aid have emphasised that if budgets are reorganised, millions of people could be saved from hunger, but it is clear that countries often feel that there are more pressing issues to spend money on, such as conflicts in the region.

What is also important to note, and is mentioned by Action Aid, and in the VOA article, is that women are a key in agriculture and farming. So perhaps by empowering and supporting more women, on an equal basis to men, productivity would increase. 

if women are given equal access to land, seeds, as their male counterparts, we can reduce hunger in the world by 140-million people, which is about 17% of people who are living hungry"

Developed Africa has often posted about the importance women hold in agriculture, and how if they were treated fairly, many of the problems that exist would be solved. But as a reminder, here are a few statistics about women in agriculture:

although women contribute more that 70% of agricultural labour, they own only 1 to 2 percent of land in Africa, with most of them only accessing land through male relatives"

over two thirds of all women in Africa are employed in the agricultural sector and produce nearly 90% of food on the continent"

However:

Land rights tend to be held by men or kinship groups controlled by men, and women have access mainly through a male relative, usually a father or husband."

So in order to reach Africa's productive potential, governments need to address their budgets in terms of agriculture, and their laws in terms of women's rights.

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