Rural women embrace agroecology to overcome social and environmental hurdles

Celebrating the contributions of rural and indigenous women to healthy food systems and a sustainable tomorrow

© FAO/Luis Tato


Around a third of the world’s food is produced by smallholder farmers on less than two hectares of land. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the percentage is much larger, with some 60 percent of the population engaged as smallholder farmers in food production and processing. At least half of these farmers are women, who specialise in seeding, weeding, transplanting, harvesting, post-harvest work, processing, marketing and, in some areas, land preparation.

This year’s International Women’s Day recognized the contributions of women and girl leaders and change-makers around the world who are fighting for sustainability in the face of the ongoing climate crisis. Despite their crucial role in agrifood systems, women are faced with enormous challenges, including exclusion from decision-making, denial of essential productive resources such as land, water, credit, information, and technologies, and disregard for their deep knowledge of local contexts. In addition, they are disproportionately affected by climate and weather-related disasters, constituting 80 percent of people displaced by climate change.

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