The 2019 International Day of Rural Women comes under the theme, “Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resilience”, as accentuated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
As early adopters of new agricultural techniques, first responders in crises and entrepreneurs of green energy, rural women are a powerful force that can drive global progress (United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres).
Indeed, women account for a substantial proportion of the global agricultural labour force, contributing significantly to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management and building climate resilience.
Globally, one in three employed women works in agriculture and the 2018 African Development Bank Gender Equality Index states that women in Africa are more economically active as farmers and entrepreneurs than women in any other region of the world.
The aforestated notwithstanding, women farmers are less able to access land, credit, agricultural inputs, markets, and high-value agrifood chains. On climate resilience, FAO has underscored the need to actively involve women in the fight against climate change.
Considering current realities, the world and indeed Africa has now grown beyond encouraging women to participate in agribusiness. Expediting existing advancement translates to providing the millions of women already involved in agriculture with tailored enablers necessary for production at optimum capacity
As the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) rightly said, if we mean to end hunger, we need to empower women. This means that closing the gender gap could increase yields on women-run farms from 20 to 30%, which would, in turn, raise total agricultural output in developing countries from 2.5 to 4%.