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Averting the food crisis by investing in women smallholders Ruchi Tripathi Head of Right to Food ActionAid International September 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Averting the food crisis by investing in women smallholders Ruchi Tripathi Head of Right to Food ActionAid International September 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Averting the food crisis by investing in women smallholders Ruchi Tripathi Head of Right to Food ActionAid International September 2011

2 Broken global food system How do we feed the world – fairly and sustainably with less resources?

3 Growing world population Trends indicate that the world population will reach 7.5 and 11 billion by 2050, depending on the expected average number of children per women To feed the growing population, food production must increase by 70% (FAO, 2006)

4 Rising food prices UN FAO Food Price Index has been hovering over 231 points since the start of 2011 In June 2011, the average was 234 – 39% higher than a year ago Cost of a typical food basket around the world has risen by 48% in real terms over the last twelve months Devastating consequences for poor people who spend up to 80% of their household income on food Source: UN FAO (June 2011)

5 Rising temperatures and climatic shocks Principal water-related climate changes—including changes in volume, intensity and variability of precipitation—can have detrimental effects on crop yields In mid- to high latitudes, increases in temperature beyond 3 °C will bring negative consequences on crop yields (GTZ, 2008) Stronger yield-depressing effects will occur in tropical and sub-tropical regions for all crops (GTZ, 2008) Africa will become the region with the highest population of food insecure, accounting for up to 75% of the world total by 2080 (GTZ, 2008) Smallholder farmers around the world are already suffering from the growing unpredictability of the climate

6 Growing demand for biofuels Biofuels account for a significant part of global use of a number of crops On average, during the 2007-09 period, that share was 20% in the case of sugar cane, 16% for vegetable oils, 15% for corn, and 4% for sugar beet (OECD/FAO 2010) Biofuel crop demand, combined with growing demand for grains globally and lower yields due to weather shocks, has eroded grain stocks in several countries and caused grain prices to rise. Biofuels also put great pressures on land rights and land use In the Dakatcha region in Kenya, communities risk losing their land and livelihoods as companies move in and clear land for biofuel production. (ActionAid 2011) In Brazil and Guatemala, small scale farmers are losing their lands as bioethanol producers move in to produce biofuels for both domestic consumption and export (ActionAid 2010)

7 Prevailing hunger 925 million people are still estimated to be undernourished in 2010, representing almost 16 percent of the population of developing countries. (FAO) This indicates deeper structural problem that gravely threatens the ability to achieve internationally agreed goals on hunger reduction 65% of the world's hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia. (Source: FAO news release, 2010)

8 Increasing malnutrition If MDG 1—halving hunger by 2015—is to be achieved, the number of undernourished people will need to be 436 million less than in 2009. (Source: Fan, 2010) Approx. 200 million children under the age of five in the developing world suffer from stunted growth as a result of chronic maternal and childhood undernutrition. (Source: Tracking Progress on Child and Maternal Development, UNICEF, 2009) “Global commitments on food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture are part of a wider agenda that will help address the critical issues [of undernutrition]” (Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director, UNICEF 2009)

9 Some (direct and indirect) causes of hunger Poverty and unequal distribution of resources including food Lack of access to and control over natural and productive resources, especially for women Soaring food prices The world’s poor who spend majority of their disposable income on food and have minimal savings are particularly vulnerable Growing demand for biofuels and land grabs Climate change and its attendant extreme weather conditions Perverse national and international food and agricultural policies – current approach to fighting hunger is based on temporary fixes, meagre investments and emergency appeals

10 Dwindling investment in agriculture From the mid-1980s onward, the share of aid to agriculture started to decline continuously

11 Broken promises At the G8 “plus” meeting held in L’Aquila in July 2009, governments promised $22 billion to fund long-term agriculture plans in poor countries over three years Two years on, only 22% of this has been delivered, and only another 25% is ‘on track’ to be disbursed (G8 Accountability Report, 2011) The Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP), which supports largely African-led plans to scale up investment in smallholder agriculture, has a funding hap of over half a billion dollars

12 Investing in women smallholders A part of the solution to our broken food system

13 Gender gap in agriculture  Women smallholders comprise an average of 43 percent of the agricultural labour force of developing countries. The female share of the agricultural labour force ranges from about 20 percent in Latin America to almost 50 percent in Eastern and Southeastern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa  Despite this rural women rarely receive any attention in agricultural policies, programmes and budget allocations.  Women own only 1% of the land in Africa; receive only 7% of extension services and 1% of all agricultural credit. If women farmers in Africa had the same access to land as men, they would increase their farm productivity by up to 20%.  Closing the gender gap in agriculture could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 % thereby reducing the number of hungry by at least 100 million people (FAO 2011)

14 Multiple constraints and responsibilities of women smallholders  Firstly women tend to be invisible to policy makers, which is born out of a lack of recognition of their role as ‘productive’ farmers, and a lack of recognition of their unpaid farm work  In addition, they bear a disproportionate burden of care and reproductive roles within the family and community.  They are also deprived of access to markets, key assets, and inputs, and are frequently excluded from decision-making.  Women are also disproportionately impacted by poverty and hunger - including having lower access to education and health care facilities compared to men.

15 Need for an integrated approach  An integrated and holistic approach should: Recognise women as both farmers and food producers Recognise their productive and reproductive roles.  Food security programmes that address these separately fail to see the linkages and trade-offs that come with only seeing women as farmers or only as carers/food providers.  Such approach can help to empower women, giving them more control over their time and resources and allowing them to challenge public policies.

16 Support for women smallholders should include 1  Securing poor women farmers’ access to and control over land  Gender appropriate farming inputs  Access to financial services including social transfers  Access to clean and stable source of water  Appropriate extension services and training  Appropriate research and technology  Appropriate marketing facilities 1 Adapted from ActionAid. 2011. What Women Farmers Need: A blueprint for action. Johannesburg: ActionAid. Available at:

17 Strategies to address gender specific constraints and empower women smallholder farmers 2  Active participation of women in collective action (and solidarity with women who cant join the groups)  Improved access to and management of productive resources (individual and collective) for women  Enhanced contributions by women to household revenues (and control over these resources)  Optimised time and resources spent in care and reproductive activities by women – policies and interventions must recognise women’s paid and unpaid work, including unpaid care work 2 Adapted from ActionAid. 2011. The Long Road from Household Food Security to Women's Empowerment - Signposts from Bangladesh and The Gambia. Johannesburg: ActionAid.



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