Mind the Gap: Closing Gender Divide in African Farming Could Reduce Hunger
Investing in childcare and adult education, and giving women farmers the same access as men to fertiliser and training, could significantly increase food production and improve their lives and that of their families, according to a report that highlights the deep-rooted gender gaps in Africa’s agricultural sector.
The report, published by the advocacy group One and the World Bank on Wednesday, found that despite women comprising more than half the continent’s farmers, political indifference and social constraints mean productivity on female-managed plots is significantly lower per hectare than those managed by men.
It argues that closing the gender gap could bolster food security and livelihoods. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that if women had the same access to resources worldwide, their yields could increase by up to 30%, which could result in up to 150 million fewer people going hungry. Latest figures from the FAO show that 842 million people experience chronic hunger.
Comparing the differences between men and women farming similar-sized plots of land in similar contexts across six African countries - Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda - the report shows that production rates among women are 23% less in Tanzania and 66% less in Niger. In Nigeria, dramatic differences were found between women and men living in the south and north.