Global Food Crisis and Gender

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jrose
Global Food Crisis and Gender

 

jrose

[url=http://madre.org/articles/inter/foodcrisis060508.html]Solving the Global Food Crisis Starts with Women’s Rights [/url]

quote:

Economists explain the food crisis as a perfect storm: rising demand for resource-intensive foods like meat, protracted drought, and more land being used to grow fuel instead of food.

More critical thinkers point out that long before biofuels became a household word, international trade rules had bankrupted millions of small farmers in the global south. Because of huge government subsidies to factory farms in the US and Europe, food imported from these countries became cheaper than food produced by local farmers. As a result, food producing countries like Nicaragua were turned into food importers, leaving people like Ana at the mercy of global markets.

But almost all public discussion has overlooked a critical fact: the majority of the world’s farmers are women. In the poorest countries, where the food crisis is at its worst, women grow and produce 80 percent of all food.

Does it really matter whether food is grown by a man or a woman? It does if you’re trying to hammer out new policies to resolve the food crisis. More and more policymakers now understand that boosting the capacity of small farmers to produce and sell food locally is a key part of the solution. What they haven’t yet grasped is that as women, many small farmers face gender discrimination that undermines their capacity to feed people.

For example, in many countries, women who grow the food that sustains the majority of the population are not even recognized as farmers. They have no legal right to own land. And women are routinely shut out of government agriculture programs. They lose out on access to credit, seeds, tool, and training that is more crucial than ever now that farmers must adapt to climate change. All of this means that policies aiming to resolve the food crisis need to also uphold women’s rights.