GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – (#agriculture #women) Women’s agricultural production is an average 25 percent lower in developing countries than that of male farmers, the first-ever Global Conference on Women in Agriculture says, in a call for greater gender equity in agriculture as a means to combat world hunger.
Forty-three percent of agriculture in developing countries is done by women, but access to property ownership, know-how, technology and even basic such as fertilizers is more limited than for men.
The international conference in New Dehli this week has emphasized the impact on of this disparity in fighting the world’s growing food crisis.
Government ministers, farmers, agricultural researchers and gender experts from around the world met for the to discuss ways of achieving greater equality in agriculture.
“The global sidelining of women farmers puts our food security at great risk,” says Mark Holderness, executive secretary for the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) calculates that boosting women’s farm production could increase output in developing countries by 2.5- 4 percent, reducing poverty by 12-17 percent, representing 100 to 150 million people. There are some 925 million undernourished people globally, according to the World Food Program.
Natural disasters, the financial crisis, political conflicts, over-use of land, increasing production of land for biofuel production are some of the factors straining food production as the world’s population is estimated to increase to 9 billion by 2012.