Women Farmers: An ‘Untapped Solution’ to Global Hunger

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(Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Farmers, and especially women farmers, were the focus of the discussion about the future of agriculture aid at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security in Washington DC yesterday.

Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the UN World Food Program, set the tone for the day in her opening remarks. The  U.S. ‘s recent commitment to addressing global hunger makes now a perfect time to mobilize the funding and policy community to make a real impact in reducing global hunger, “especially by supporting the role of farmers.”

Calling women farmers an “untapped solution” to global hunger, keynote speaker for the morning’s first panel, the Honorable Rajiv Shah, administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, introduced USAID’s new global hunger and food security initiative’s Feed the Future Guide , and explained that women farmers will play an important role in future agriculture development.

In some parts of Africa women make up 80 percent of farmers and produce 60 percent of food. And research has shown that when women’s incomes improve, they are much more likely than men to spend it on improving the quality of life for their families and communities.

To read more about the importance of focusing on women farmers in funding and policy to alleviate global hunger and poverty, see: Feeding Communities by Focusing on Women, Farming on the Urban Fringe, Building a Methane Fueled Fire, Women Entrepreneurs: Adding Value, Women Farmers Are Key to Halving Global Hunger by 2015, For Many Women, Improved Access to Water is About More than Having Something to Drink, and Reducing the Things They Carry.

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