Research has it that at least 30 per cent of the farmers population are women, while 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force is made up of women in the least developed countries, which means, at least two in three women are employed in farming. This consequently implies that women are a driving force to agricultural development, as they supply their bits to ensuring food security globally. They are active and responsive to situations of food and market place across various societies.
Women’s efforts should be recognised as and when due, even beyond women’s day. It is fact that women in agriculture produce more than 50 per cent of the world’s food and are responsible for some 60 per cent to 80 per cent of the world’s food production in developing countries, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations. Globally, 1.6 billion women rely on farming for their livelihoods, fending for their homes and families. They are also popular for sourcing water and fuel. You find women in almost every sphere of agriculture. From being cultivators, to being, entrepreneurs, processors, labourers and even sellers: women are found in every point of the chain of food supply.
With women predominant at all levels of production, pre-harvest, post-harvest processing, packaging, and marketing of the agricultural value chain in order to increase productivity in agriculture, it won’t be out of place to preach “Embrace Equity”, in tandem with the 2023 theme of International Women’s Day (IWD). There is need for to make resources available to women as much as men have access to globally. Basically, the call is to identify and do our best in reducing the rate of gender stereotypes, discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion at all levels.
This must be prioritised in every country in order to ensure continuous availability of quality, and nutritious foods, to ensure food security. Since it is clear that women are actively involved in farming and agricultural activities, there is need for individuals, organisations, governments among others, to collaborate and ensure that women farmers’ skills are upgrades, their wins are celebrated, and that they are also carried along with developments for modern farming and new practices. On a final note, it is high time social perceptions stopped determining the value and role of women in agriculture.