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Importance of women in agriculture

Compared to men, women and girls are still more severely affected by poverty, hunger and disease. When food is scarce, female family members often get the smallest portions.

For many years, women have played a key role in agriculture. Several estimations indicate that rural women in Latin America and the Caribbean are responsible for the production of approximately 45 per cent of the food consumed by rural households in the region.

Several other estimates indicate that rural women are responsible for the production of 60–80 per cent of food produced in developing countries around the world.

Women are often faced with many issues in agriculture. One of them is the inequality in labour conditions. Women are often paid less than men in the agricultural sector. Another is access to work opportunities since a woman is seen as less powerful than a man.

Other issues include limited access to productive inputs, particularly to land ownership, and insufficient credit facilities.

There are many possible interventions that are needed if we are to increase opportunities for women in agriculture across the region. These include the equal application of the law, the provision of productive opportunities and the promotion of education and awareness.

The development of leadership abilities, the importance of granting access to productive assets and the importance of linking rural women to value chains are much needed for women in agriculture.

Women are, therefore, crucial in the translation of products of a vibrant agricultural sector into food and nutritional security for their households. We must respect and promote all women who are farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs. It is very important that we support our female local farmers and agripreneurs at the marketplace and local craft markets.

It is also vital that we have missions and partners who can not only increase women’s participation, productivity, profit, and benefit in agricultural systems, but more importantly, enhance programme effectiveness and sustainability for them.


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