‘Rural women key to fighting hunger’


Giving rural women equal access to resources would reduce food insecurity and allow countries to avoid a food crisis, according to an expert from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In an Asian Development Blog, ADB Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department Senior Social Development Specialist Zonibel Woods said female farmers in Asia and the Pacific must be equipped with technology, support, and resources.

“If rural women were given equal access to the same resources as men, we could significantly reduce hunger. Food insecurity is linked to women’s unequal access to and control over resources compared to men,” Woods said.

“Climate-smart agriculture can significantly reduce the labor burden for women in agriculture. However, climate-smart agriculture benefits to both men and women may be lost if gender issues in agriculture are not considered,” she added.

Citing estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization, Woods said the number of hungry people worldwide could be reduced by up to 150 million people if rural women were given equal access to resources as men.

This includes access to labor-saving technologies and even the most basic farm tools that many female farmers lack. Access to credit will also improve women’s uptake of climate-smart agriculture practices.

“Women play critical roles in food systems as producers, processors, traders, consumers, scientists, and policymakers, but their role is not always recognized or counted. Closing the gender gap in farming can increase food production and security,” Woods said.

Woods said globally, women represent 43 percent of the agricultural labor force, and in some Asian countries this percentage is much higher.