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Without women, the world would go hungry

Today, agriculture is still considered a man’s world despite the 602 million women across the globe who are smallholder farmers and landless workers.

Even that figure is far from the truth: Women produce between 60 and 80 per cent of the food in most developing countries and are responsible for half of the world's food production.

So imagine a world where women do not farm — would we go hungry?

One in eight people in the world are estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, meaning they are not getting enough food to live an active life. It is predicted that food prices will increase by a staggering 70 to 90 percent by 2030. And as poverty persists throughout much of the world, this could significantly increase the number of hungry and vulnerable people. Women are a key player in addressing this looming challenge.

While women are active in all agricultural sectors much of their work is unpaid and unrecognized, and they struggle to access the assets and resources that could help improve the yields of their farms. A lack of ownership and control over resources, inheritance laws and practices that exclude women, land reforms and, social and cultural traditions and beliefs have contributed to this situation.

The International Labor Organization estimates that across the globe almost half of women’s productive potential is underutilized, and evidence shows that increasing women’s access to productive resources can lead to increases in food production and feed an additional 100-150 million people.

Yet in the 97 countries assessed by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, female farmers only received 5 percent of all agricultural extension services. They also have less access to formal support networks and organizations such as cooperatives. This places women farmers at a disadvantage and limits their ability to invest in advanced technologies and other improvements that could help them increase their productivity and incomes.

The factors constraining women are deep-rooted, and despite decades of efforts to empower women in the agricultural sector they have been offered limited opportunities for personal development and, to both understand and challenge inequalities.

For the complete article, please see devex.