Women farmers are answer to poverty, says charity

Giving more support and opportunities to women farmers in Africa could increase food production on the continent by 20%

“It doesn’t take a miracle to end hunger – it takes a farmer.” This is the belief of Self Help Africa, a charity currently running a campaign called Change Her Life, which aims to increase support for women farmers. To date, more than 5,000 people have signed a petition backing the campaign.

According to the UN, women in Africa are responsible for producing up to 80% of the food in many countries, yet they own just one percent of the land. They are also frequently denied access to the farm credit they need to buy seeds and other inputs.

“Our campaign is designed to support these hard working women and implement sustainable working practices so that both the community and the environment have a better future,” said Ray Jordan, CEO of Self Help Africa.

The charity works with poor rural communities in nine different countries, using simple and practical technologies to alleviate poverty and establish food security. Its approach is to enable Africans to make best use of traditional methods to bring about food security, rather than delivering aid and short-term fixes.

Copies of the Change Her Life petition will be sent to development ministers and political leaders worldwide, who are responsible for allocating hundreds of millions of dollars for agricultural and rural development projects each year.

“If women are given equal access to resources, studies estimate the food production would increase by 20%,” said Jordan. “The benefits from farming that are then received by African women are much more likely to be invested in family, health and education. These are all vital for the countries’ development and growth.”