'Closing the gap' in gender equality will make for a more food secure world.

Poultry contribute significantly to household food security & are usually under the control of women. Photo:R Alders, FAO
Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Written by Emma Zalcman

Women play a crucial role in smallholder agriculture, both in Africa and universally.  It is estimated that 43 percent of the world’s agricultural workers are women, yet in many developing countries, women have little access to land and other resources. For Kenya, women provide 70 percent of agricultural labour, yet only 1 percent of these women own their own land. 

Because women have less access to resources, their agricultural productivity is less than their male counterparts and this constrains rural economies and negatively impacts on global food security. It also creates an opportunity for the international agricultural research community to focus it’s efforts on ‘closing the gap’ and incorporating interventions that promote gender equality and empower women.  The FAO has previously estimated that if women farmers had the same access to resources as men, they could increase farm yields by 20-30 percent, raising total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5-4 percent.

International Women’s day provides the opportunity for AIFSRC and it’s partners to reflect on the role of women in agriculture and how we can contribute to ’closing the gap’.  AIFSRC is committed to delivering projects that give women in agriculture greater access to resources and knowledge.

‘Strengthening food and nutrition security through family poultry and crop integration in Tanzania and Zambia’ is aiming to reduce childhood undernutrition by analysing and testing opportunities to enhance the key role that women play in improving poultry and crop integration and efficiency to strengthen household nutrition. Read More

If you are  interested in how this project is approaching gender, click here.

‘Farm mechanisation and conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification (FACASI)’ is identifying appropriate small-scale machines to improve farming practices and relieve many female farmers from high labour drudgery. Read More

‘Identifying Socioeconomic Constraints to and Incentives for Faster Technology Adoption’ is investigating how smallholders make decisions about the adoption of new technologies and farming practices and has released a number of discussion papers on the role of gender in agriculture. Read More

AIFSRC is also committed to supporting female agricultural researchers to excel in their field so that they can use their skills and expertise to contribute to strenthening global food and nutrition security. We were absolutely delighted to see so many amazing women from our project teams and partner insitutes featured in ILRI’s ‘Wild women heroes’.  We were also pleased to have our director, Mellissa Wood invited to speak at ‘Celebrating women: leading and sustaining communities’ at the University of Sydney on Friday.

Happy International Women’s Day from the team at AIFSRC and we look forward to continuing to contribute to empowering women in agriculture in Africa and beyond.