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Call to engage more women in agriculture

Delegates at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi want women to be fully involved in agriculture as the sector is a key driver of the continent’s economy.

Agriculture accounts for more than 30 per cent of Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is provides food to 950 million people. The delegates said as the growing population increases demand for food, there is need for a shift of strategy in handling issues related to the sector, which employs up to 70 per cent of labour force in the continent.

Women, who account for almost 50 per cent of agricultural labour force, lack requisite support to excel in the sector, while most youth also struggle to make headway in agriculture.

Equal opportunities Speaking during an AGRF side event, president and CEO of Asia Society Josette Sheeran said women in Africa produce 13 per cent less than their counterparts in other regions despite the fact that they constitute half of all farmers.

“Land ownership issues, lack of access to tools, inputs and financing as some of the challenges affecting women,” she said, adding: “Gender empowerment is no longer a moral but an economic issue. We cannot defeat hunger without women.”

She said giving equal opportunities to women in agriculture would translate to 30 per cent increase in their output. Intricate land tenure systems and patriarchy were cited as some of the impediments women farmers grapple with in Africa.

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