Ambassador-at-Large Women Melanne Verveer for Global Women’s Issues today said closing the gender gap and providing women with the same resources as men improve agricultural production in the developing world.
In the dialogue “The Vital Role of Women in Agriculture and Rural Development” held in Rome, Ms. Verveer said the conference brings into the spotlight one of the most vital concerns for food security in our world: the equality and integration of men and women throughout the agriculture sector.
“In many developing countries, women are the backbone of the economy. In some places they even comprise the majority of small hold farmers. There is a strong economic argument for focusing on investmenting in women in agriculture-as farmers, fishers or workers in agri-processing and marketing.” -Ms. Verveer
However, Ms. Verveer argued that still women farmers do not have equal access to resources and this significantly limits their potential in enhancing productivity. She added that women are often at a severe disadvantage when it comes to securing land tenure rights or owning land outright, owning livestock, accessing financial services, receiving the kind of extension services and resources that will grow her output.
Ms. Verveer stated that rhe SOFA study shows that when women are provided with equal resources, they can produce yields equal to those of men, if not more.
“But because there is a gender gap in access to resources like seeds, fertilizer, technology, and so much more, bringing women up to the same level of resources as men provides an important opportunity to improve overall productivity.” -Ms. Verveer
According to Ms. Verveer, research also indicates that women are more likely than men to use their incomes to improve the well being of their families and communities.
Ms. Verveer noted in the World Economic Forum’s annual Gender Gap Report, in countries that are closer to closing the gap between men and women on four metrics, including economic empowerment, those countries are more economically competitive and prosperous.
“Agriculture is central to economic growth when women can learn the best way to grow and cultivate their own nutritious food, they can feed their children and sell at markets.” -Ms. Verveer
She underscored that closing the gender gap in agriculture is an imperative to grow productivity and ensure food security. She specified that governments and stakeholders need to invest in women farmers so they can become more productive.