Petra Saghir extreme left, an African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellow with the Poverty, Gender and Impact team at ILRI at the conference ((photo credit: ILRI/Jemimah Njuki
The First Global Conference on Women in Agriculture (GCWA), was held on March 13-15 in New Delhi, India. Petra Saghir and Jemimah Njuki, both from the ILRI Poverty Gender and Impact (PGI) team attended the event.
‘Despite the fact that they comprise around half of the world’s agricultural workforce, women are often not even recognized as farmers and face widespread restrictions on decision making about the basic resource for production i.e. land; access to productivity-enhancing inputs such as credit, fertilizer, improved seeds and extension; and control over the produce resulting from their labour and other investment. For example, whereas women do 75% of the agricultural work in Cameroon they own less than 10% of the land. Women’s ability to produce enough food is further hampered by the physically exhausting labor and drudgery associated with farming practices that have remained unchanged for generations.
‘By failing to close the gender gap, the world is paying very dearly. For example, according to a recent FAO report, opening up women’s access to the resources required to produce, process and market food products yields on women’s farms could increase by 20 to 30 percent. This would raise total agricultural production in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent and reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100 to 150 million people. A further example from Cote d’Ivoire highlights the impact of increasing women’s income on child health and nutrition. It shows that the improvement in child health and nutrition achieved by a US$10 increase in women’s income would require a $110 increase in men’s income.’