African Women: Pillars of Agriculture but Greatly Marginalized


Statistics are clear, Facts are indisputable, the toll is high but what about the returns? I feel greatly saddened. I wish I could work harder to contribute my widow´s mite so that our policy makers (again very few of whom are women), help these women in overcoming the various challenges identified and the feasible and possible actions outlined to help African Women and all those women in the Agricultural industry to no longer feel marginalized but fell they actually determine the margins – the “profit margins”.

Girls' Globe

Women farmers are the pillars of African agriculture. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the agricultural sector employs over two-thirds of all women in Africa who then produce nearly 90 percent of food on the continent. Women are responsible for growing, selling, buying and preparing food for their families yet remain marginalized in business relations and lack control over access to resources such as land, improved seeds and fertilizer, credit and technology.

Women serve as the backbone of agriculture and food production in Africa, but the potential of women in agriculture is left largely untapped. African women comprise approximately 70 percent of Sub-Saharan agriculture workers and 80 percent of the actors in the food processing chain.

Agricultural programs are rarely designed with women’s needs in mind due to a combination of logistical, cultural, and economic factors, coupled with a lack of gender statistics in the agricultural sector. As a result, African women farmers…

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