The African Union (AU) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have called for greater support to rural women as agents of change to end hunger.
The UN agencies made the call recently at the joint event on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
FAO director general, Graziano da Silva said: “We need to better recognize and harness the fundamental contribution of women to food security and nutrition.
For that, we must close persisting gender gaps in agriculture in Africa.” He called for better representation of women in governance mechanisms and decision-making processes, as well as adequate and equal access to land, financial resources, social protection programmes, services and opportunities for women in rural areas.
The findings and recommendations of the AUFAO study ‘The Regional Outlook on Gender and Agrifood Systems’ were presented at the event.
The Outlook is based on an extensive review of existing statistics, gender audits of 38 National Agricultural Investment Plans and in-depth country gender assessments carried out in 40 countries.
The study’s recommendations call for a “gender data revolution” in the agri-food sector to inform sound policies and programmes, and elevating the gender benchmarks in planning, monitoring and accountability.
“We need to put in place gender targeted programmes that address women’s specific vulnerabilities but also their key role in household nutrition and resilience,” Graziano da Silva said.
“Evidence shows that when women are empowered, farms are more productive, natural resources are better managed, nutrition is improved, and livelihoods are more secure,” he added.