The Future of Women in Agriculture
Did you know that women make up roughly half of the agricultural workforce in many areas in the world? In fact, in some areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, women make up to 60% of the agriculture workforce. Women play an important role in the productivity of the agriculture ecosystem. However, while farming and agriculture is a challenging industry for men, it is even more difficult for women as they face barriers related to land ownership, education and knowledge of technology, machinery, training, and access to finance. In some cases, they are not permitted to partake in certain aspects of the value chain and in others are not qualified to trade without a man present.
In order to strengthen women's’ contribution to society and the agriculture community, these barriers need to be removed. If women are granted the same rights as men and supported by governmental and economic foundations, they will greatly contribute to poverty reduction and food security. In fact, closing the gender gap in developing countries could reduce hunger by 15%, and increase yields by 4%.
Access to Land
Access to land for women varies throughout developing countries. In fact, only 10 to 20 percent of landholders in developing countries are women. In Africa, while some women are granted land ownership, the size of their land is substantially smaller than those of most men. The size of the land directly affects the amount of crop produced and therefore contributes to the lower yield from women farmers. Women are faced with challenging and baffling circumstances, such as land grabbing, loss of land due to husband’s death, and primitive, traditional laws of land. Without access to a fair amount of land, and the security of its ownership, women remain farther away from access to education, technology, and financial credit in order to contribute to the global economy.
Access to Technology
Technology in agriculture has come a very long way in the past few decades. While these improvements have been slowly improving the lives and productivity of African farmers, many women do not have access to the technology or the education pertaining to its use. As modern technology continues to become a fundamental part of agriculture on a global scale, women must have access to acquire technical skills. Not only will it greatly increase yield and production but w