Friday, April 11, 2014

Women and Agriculture

Local women in a greenhouse in the Dominican Republic.
Throughout Latin America, agriculture plays an important role in the lives of many. In recent years, the role of gender in agriculture has gained greater attention, particularly the important and substantial role that women play. Globally, women comprise approximately 43% percent of the agricultural labor work force in developing countries. USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative specifically focuses on closing the gender gap and addressing the constraints that women face in accessing land, water, agricultural resources, and labor markets. According to USAID, if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase their farm yields by 20-30%, in turn reducing the number of hungry people by up to 150 million people worldwide (Feed the Future 2012).
A women's group in Nicaragua prepares produce
to be dried in solar dehydrators and sold in local markets.
Partners’ Farmer-to-Farmer program focuses on expanding opportunities and providing technical assistance to groups who historically have had little access to such resources. These groups include women, indigenous groups, and small-scale farmers. F2F volunteers help promote gender equality by encouraging women to participate in workshops and trainings. Female F2F volunteers also play a key role in reinforcing the value and knowledge that women provide in agricultural production and income-generation.

Organizational capacity specialist Ellen Lewis is currently working with F2F field staff in Nicaragua to demonstrate hands-on methodologies for increasing women’s engagement in the F2F program. More specifically, she has met with Nicaraguan host organizations to assist them in identifying and addressing barriers to women’s inclusion in organizational leadership. Check back soon for Ellen’s update from the field!

Cited: Feed the Future. 2012. “Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture.” Accessed April 11, 2014.
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