up smallholder agricultural programmes with primary health care, clean water
and sanitation, other direct interventions for nutrition, and female
empowerment. Empowered and educated mothers are time and again shown to spend
incomes on their young children and to protect the nutrition and health of the
household. Correct female disadvantages in farming: through recognising and
strengthening women’s rights to fields and common property resources; directing
attention to women’s needs in farming and finding ways to support them; and in
general, developing innovations both on field and in domestic tasks, such as
water supply and fuel collection, that save time and appropriate for women.
Make sure that girls living in rural areas are schooled through until the end
WUNRN would be interested in gender
specific components of this Report, gender-disaggregated data, and gender
WOMEN SMALLHOLDER FARMERS NEED
BETTER INTEGRATION INTO MARKETS FOR LESS POVERTY & HUNGER
Direct Link to Full 50-Page FAO
FAO report says policy-makers need to
recognize the vast diversity of ‘smallholder farmers’, while linking them to
constantly evolving markets, to be able to feed more people
A woman selling tomatoes along a roadside
3 July 2013, Rome - In a new report, FAO is calling for more nuanced
policy-making to boost smallholder farm output, requiring better knowledge of
individual farm households and the constraints they face, to be able to target
investments and policy support where they are needed to ensure that they can
sell surpluses from their harvests.
farmers need to be better integrated into markets in order to reduce hunger and
poverty," said David Hallam, Director of FAO's Trade and Markets
"Only with greater market integration and more inclusive value chains will
they adopt the new technologies required to achieve productivity growth.......
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2013 2:59 PM
Subject: Women Smallholders - Achieving Food Security & Better
Agriculture's Contribution to Better Nutrition - Women
Direct Link to Full 114-Page 2013
development can be steered to have a greater impact on food security and
nutrition as to:
*Empower Women Farmers, both to
allow them more control over income and household spending - which usually
leads to more being spent on the feeding and care of young children, as well as
to correct for unequal access to labour and inputs that means that women's
plots often achieve lower yields than men's...
by the UK Hunger Alliance for the June 2013 'Hunger Summit' this report asks
"How can smallholder agriculture contribute to improving food security and
Potentially, smallholder agriculture can improve food security by making
food available through production; reducing the real cost of food by increasing
supply; generating incomes for farmers and those working the land as labourers,
as well as to others in the rural economy from linkages in production and
consumption that create additional activity and jobs.
Other considerations include the way that increased rural incomes are spent;
impacts on women’s incomes, status within the household, and through the
demands of farm work, the ability of mothers to allocate income to food and
care of young children; the effect of farm work on energy of field workers;
and, impacts on health of field workers and those living close to farms.
The record shows:
- Worldwide, and especially in the developing world, the
production of food has increased ahead of population growth for most of
the last fifty years. Much of this increase in availability has come from
small-scale family farms, particularly in Asia
- Increased food production has led to falling real
prices of food, especially for staples, with benefits to those vulnerable
people who have to buy in most of their food
- Smallholder agricultural development usually leads to
higher farm incomes, even when output prices may be pushed down by rising
production, owing to improved productivity. Increasingly, however, incomes
from off the farm — in services, public employment, businesses — tend to
rise more. Links from smallholder agricultural development to the rest of
the rural economy, especially when farmers spend increased incomes on
locally-supplied goods and services, can be strong
- Smallholders who focus on production of crops for sale
can also increase their food security and nutrition, since commercial
production from smallholdings is also often associated with increased food
production and higher incomes. Under some conditions, however, nutrition
may be impaired by cash crops; as, for example, when the demands of these
crops mean that women working in the fields have too little time to feed
and care for infants
- Given appropriate technical knowledge and skill, some
of it learned from other farmers, secure tenure and the incentive of
markets, smallholder agricultural development can support food security
and nutrition outcomes while being environmentally sustainable.
Smallholder agricultural development can be steered to have a greater impact
on food security and nutrition through three measures:
- Empower women farmers, both to allow them more control
over income and household spending — which usually leads to more being
spent on the feeding and care of young children, as well as to correct for
unequal access to labour and inputs that means that women’s plots often
achieve lower yields than men’s
- Promote home gardens and small-scale livestock rearing
for increased diversity of production and consumption. Children’s
nutrition often improves: effects that are stronger when these programmes
are combined with education on diet, child care and hygiene; and,
Smallholder agriculture’s contribution to better nutrition
- Complement agricultural programmes with education and
communication, health services, water and sanitation. Smallholder
agriculture cannot achieve better nutrition alone.
Four points stand out for policy-makers:
- Smallholder agricultural development can be an excellent
way to reduce poverty and tackle hunger in low income countries. Encourage
this by making sure that rural investment climate is conducive to
investment and innovation. Provide rural public goods roads and other
physical infrastructure, schools, health, clean water, agricultural
research and extension. Improve access to inputs, insurance and finance
for smallholders and improve their terms of engagement in such markets.
Develop and promote innovations for marginal farms. Recognise and protect
the rights of small farmers to their land.
- Patterns of agricultural development need steering
towards more diversified food production. Production of staples has
increased more than foods with more diverse nutrients. For every person
who suffers from undernourishment in the world, more than twice as many
suffer from deficiencies in minerals and vitamins. Hence promote home
gardens, with small-scale livestock rearing — including fish. Complement
this up with communications for nutrition, health and child care. Monitor
the adoption of emerging bio-fortified staples of maize, rice and sweet
potato by farmers.
- Back up smallholder
agricultural programmes with primary health care, clean water and
sanitation, other direct interventions for nutrition, and female empowerment.
Empowered and educated mothers are time and again shown to spend incomes
on their young children and to protect the nutrition and health of the
household. Correct female disadvantages in farming: through recognising
and strengthening women’s rights to fields and common property resources;
directing attention to women’s needs in farming and finding ways to
support them; and in general, developing innovations both on field and in
domestic tasks, such as water supply and fuel collection, that save time and
appropriate for women. Make sure that girls living in rural areas are
schooled through until the end of secondary.
- Greater political support for improving food security
and nutrition is needed. Political support for nutrition is often
lukewarm: perhaps because of ignorance of the problems, or because the
remedies can seem dauntingly difficult for problems with multiple causes.
Monitor and survey more often the state of food security and nutrition, to
highlight the problems and to see where and when progress is being made.
Regular national surveys of nutrition and food security should be
conducted, at least once every five years, preferably every three years.
Sentinel sites could be established for more frequent monitoring of food
and nutrition, using text messaging to collect information in real time.
Pilot innovations, then evaluate these rigorously, compare them to
counter-factuals, and publicise the results.
These policies either have low costs or are not additional to the funding
what would be needed for any serious programme of development. FAO in 2011
estimated the extra annual spending required to eliminate hunger by 2025 as
US$50.2 billion, including US$7.5 billion for food and cash-based safety nets
in keeping with the twin-track approach of dealing with long-term chronic
hunger while also addressing short-term needs. Most of the extra investment is
for physical infrastructure, and mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
An extra US$50 billion a year may sound a lot, but consider the figure for
sub-Saharan Africa of US$13.3 billion more. This is about US$15.50 for each of
the 854M living in the region. The costs are small compared to the numbers who
will potentially benefit from better food security and nutrition.
APPROACHES FOR EMPOWERING WOMEN SMALLHOLDERS & ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY
"Despite their wealth of knowledge and capacity, women farmers are
neglected by policy makers, often not being recognised as 'productive' farmers.
Their farm work is frequently unpaid or undervalued; they tend to be excluded
from decision-making; and they do not have equal access to land and other
resources, credit, markets, education, extension services and inputs."
do we need to empower women smallholders and achieve food security?" In an
effort to address this question, 9 international development agencies produced
this briefing to share the lessons learned based on their experience of
promoting gender equality and working with women smallholders and rural women
over many decades. The involved agencies are: ActionAid International, CARE,
Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Find Your Feet, Oxfam, Practical Action, Save
the Children, and Self Help Africa.
Lessons from working with women
- Collective action is key
to economic and social empowerment - "In some contexts, women-only
groups can provide 'enabling spaces' where marginalised women can gain
self-esteem, confidence and skills by creating a space for them to
identify their needs, understand their rights and begin to articulate
their demands. Women-only groups can also provide a step towards wider
participation in mixed groups and other decision-making forums. For
example, in Northeastern Brazil, women farmers have created a forum through
which they exchange their knowledge and experiences on agroecological
farming, while strengthening their identity as rural women and building
their self-confidence....Politically, it served to unveil the diverse
types of oppression suffered by women..."
- Access to productive
resources is essential - In addition to secure and stable access to
productive resources including land, water, forests, and fisheries, as
well as access to inputs and appropriate financial services, it is noted
here that women need appropriate extension services, training,
technologies, and access to appropriate marketing facilities.
- Economic empowerment is
not enough, underlying gender inequalities must be challenged -
"...women's economic empowerment must be accompanied by measures to
address broader gender issues including power imbalances, gender
stereotypes and discrimination against women. Among and between both men
and women, activities that promote discussion and mutual understanding of
issues such as gender roles, unequal workload, rights and responsibilities
are important for raising awareness, informing programmes and policies and
ultimately addressing gender inequality....[I]n Bangladesh, it was found
that by addressing the causes of deeply-entrenched power inequalities
between men and women, poor sanitation and poverty, in addition to direct
nutrition interventions, led to a significant reduction in child stunting;
the stunting among children between 6 and 24 months old was reduced by 4.5
percentage points per year..."
- Disaster resilience and
risk management approaches must be gender-sensitive and integrated with
development interventions - The briefing contends that, in addition to
taking part in local-level mitigation and adaptation projects, women can
play a key role as advocates for change. For example, in India, thousands
of women farmers were mobilised in a campaign by the Deccan Development
Society (DDS) and the Millet Network of India for the inclusion of millets
in the definition of food grains in the National Food Security Bill and
the decentralised public distribution system.
The paper concludes with a number of
recommendations to help close the gender gap in agriculture. They are divided
into: (i) recommendations for national governments - example: "Engage
women in policy-making and planning processes at all levels, for example by
establishing quotas and targets for women in decision-making roles, legislating
to remove barriers, and encouraging the establishment of effective collective
structures that are gender-sensitive", and (ii) recommendations for
multilateral and bilateral donors - example: "Support and engage actively
with women's civil society organisations and networks (such as farmers' groups
and women's cooperatives) and facilitate their systematic inclusion and
participation in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of
agricultural research, policies and programmes."