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Global food policy report calls for efforts to build evidence base on gender in agriculture

Mozambiquan woman feeds her goat

Widowed farmer Maria Ngove feeds her goat in Lhate Village, Gurue, Mozambique. Gender researchers have called for more efforts towards building the evidence base on gender in agriculture and strengthening women’s assets (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) launched its 2012 Global Food Policy Report on 14 March 2013. This flagship report examines the major food policy developments during 2012 and covers various issues relating to global agricultural productivity, sustainable rural development and food security.

The report features a chapter on women in agriculture titled “Closing the Gender Gap“. In the chapter, IFPRI authors Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Agnes Quisumbing highlight case studies of gender-aware and gender-transformative approaches that have enhanced agricultural productivity and rural development.

One of these is a case study by CARE gender specialist Jemimah Njuki and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) postdoctoral scientist Elizabeth Waithanji on the gender inclusive approach used by the Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project (GAAP) in Mozambique that targeted both men and women in livestock ownership programs, farmer training and management of milk co-operative committees.

This integrated approach led to an increase in women’s livestock ownership, with more women having a say in decisions about managing livestock and greater control over the income from sale of milk.

Led by IFPRI and ILRI, the GAAP analyzes gender roles and accounts for gender differences within development interventions so that women’s assets are strengthened and gender equity is achieved.

While the chapter authors acknowledge that attention to gender in agriculture is not new, they note that it has not always been acted upon.

They also recognize that more efforts are required in future to build the base of research evidence on gender in agriculture so that women can participate as equal partners in development.

“The accumulating evidence shows that empowering women is not only important in its own right, but often highly conducive to improving agricultural productivity, food security, and nutrition,” the authors say.

Read the complete chapter here

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