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Women play a critical role in agriculture throughout the world, producing, processing and providing the food we eat. Rural women are responsible for over half of the world's food production, producing around 70 percent of the food in most developing countries. Yet, despite their contribution to global food security, women farmers are frequently underestimated and overlooked in development strategies. Rural women are the main producers of the world's staple crops - rice, wheat, maize - which provide up to 90 percent of the rural poor's food intake. They are also the holders of vast indigenous...
The Agricultural Development strategy identifies the participation of smallholder farmers as a critical feature of our ultimate success. Women comprise the vast majority of smallholder farmers and food producers. We recognize that in most areas in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia women are afforded less status than men, have less access to resources, and have greater responsibilities given their dual reproductive and productive roles in rural households. It is our belief that to achieve dramatic and sustainable improvements in the lives and wellbeing of the smallholder farmers our...
Gender relationships are fundamental worldwide to the way farm work is organised, the way assets such as land, labour, seeds and machinery are managed, and to farm decision-making. Given this, the lack of adequate attention to gender issues within the organic and sustainable farming movements is worrying. The revolutionary potential of sustainable approaches to farming to reshape our food systems, and the way humans interact with those systems, will not be realized unless there is a concerted effort by committed sustainable farmers and consumers to work towards gender equality. Indeed, the...
This is a quick guide that outlines the gender dimensions of each strategic objective, and FAO action to achieve gender equity in agriculture and rural development. Mainstreaming gender equity has become a strategic objective, of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
This paper makes a case for gender equity in the agricultural R&D system. It reviews the evidence on exactly why it is important to pay attention to gender issues in agriculture and why it is necessary to recognize women‘s distinct food-security roles throughout the entire value chain—for both food and nonfood crops, marketed and nonmarketed commodities. The authors examine whether women are factored into the work of research institutions, and whether research institutions effectively focus on women‘s needs. In short, are these institutions conducting research by and for women? The paper‘...
The steep increase in global food prices has added nearly 100 million people to the numbers who are chronically hungry, pushing the world total to nearly 1 billion people. Amid a global financial crisis and further market instability, the number of poor people also is climbing, undoing significant gains made against hunger and poverty in the past decade. This paper reviews current thinking and practice on increasing agricultural productivity, both subsistence and commercial agriculture, and examines what is known about women's roles in both sectors.
Women in agriculture continue to be underrepresented and underserved, and their contributions are not fully tapped. As stated by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, ―Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals—peace, security, sustainable development—stand in jeopardy.‖ Whereas the fields of health and education have long acknowledged this truth—that explicitly attending to gender issues is one of the most effective, efficient, and empowering ways to boost development and address poverty—the field of agricultural research still lags. It is time to transform the...
This report analyses government and donor spending on agriculture, involving extensive work in three countries – Uganda, Malawi and Kenya – and a comprehensive literature review of many others over the past 10 years. It shows, first, that donors and developing country governments are still shortchanging farmers, and second, that funding is scarcest for the services that have the potential to make the greatest impact on poverty and hunger.
On June 18th, the World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization held a Global Food Security Consultation Meeting with Washington D.C. based agriculture organizations concerned with building a response to food crisis around the world. The goal of the Cluster is to improve food security responses in humanitarian situations through the provision of predictable support to country-level clusters addressing food availability, food access and food consumption/utilization concerns.
A side event jointly organized by FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) during the Annual Ministerial Review of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), participants examined how to overcome critical gaps in the advancement of rural women.

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