By Abdallah el-Kurebe/Iowa, USA
Des Moines, Iowa – October 17, 2013 – The Women Thrive Worldwide, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group has advocated for increased voice to be dedicated to women farmers because of the special role they play in addressing world hunger.
Sixty percent of the nearly 870 million people that are considered ‘food insecure’ are women, Ritu Sharma, co-founder and president of Women Thrive Worldwide, said.
Quoting the World Bank, Sharma said: “Up to 150 million fewer people would go hungry if women simply had the same access to agricultural resources as men.” But increasing crop yields today without building equitable, sustainable farming for tomorrow is no panacea.
“Addressing world hunger will require that experts, activists, donors and world leaders not only hear from local women farmers in developing countries, but also actively ensure that women can access opportunities that put power in their hands,” she said.
Sharma suggested that stakeholders should avoid creating new dependencies because, “food policy cannot and must not foist production techniques on local farmers that will only be sustainable with additional, outside support.”
As well, women farmers should be given full information about possible food production methods – whether these are natural or high-tech so that they can decide what is best for their land and families.
Women farmers must be empowered to decide on food production techniques. “Social norms on gender limit on land ownership by women and the lack of access to formal markets and other structural barriers to equality limit women’s success in addressing local food crises,” Sharma said.