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Women's empowerment is key to fighting hunger and poverty

FAO and the African Union (AU) Commission convened a three-day Africa-wide consultative meeting on rural women and gender in the context of the AU Agenda 2063.

Women farmers in Cameroon. (Image © FAO / Helena Moreno Gonzalez)

The meeting, which was held earlier this month, defined priority intervention areas for the African Union (AU) in empowering rural women in food security and nutrition, agrifood systems, value chains, and the management of natural resources in the context of climate change.

In her welcoming address, Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, Director of the Women, Gender and Development Directorate of the African Union Commission, underlined the key role of the AU to impel change. “It is now time to transform objectives into action and to report progress with an ambitious and focused gender strategy,” she declared.

Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Gifty Twum-Ampofo, urged stakeholders in the empowerment of rural women to enhance the role of women in agriculture and development by addressing issues of maternal health, land tenure and credit facilities. 

“What women need is not micro support, rather, increased mechanization, technological innovation, education and skills development, for women to intensify their financial inclusion in agribusiness and empower them with knowledge and skills to use modern technologies in agribusiness and agricultural value chains”, she stressed.

Elizabeth Atangana, a Rural Woman Leader from Cameroon and FAO Ambassador for Cooperatives, emphasized the need to reinforce investment for women farmers. She called for institutional and policy support, access to rural finances and to sufficient land for decent income, and stressed the need for access to a minimum of 2 to 3 ha of land per woman, as well as to water, energy and markets. 

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