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Educating Women May Improve Food Security in Africa

13.05.2013
African women have a key role in their families’ food security. Information campaigns targeting female farmers could lead to reduced poverty and increased food security. This is the conclusion of a new doctoral thesis from the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The author of the thesis Simon Wagura Ndiritu has studied gender-related issues concerning agriculture and food management in Kenya and Tanzania. He found significant differences between men and women, where women are often forced to farm lower-quality lands and do not typically use the most productive farming methods to the same extent as men. As this seems to be a structural problem, measures targeting women can be expected to be very effective.

‘African women are crucial in farming. They are in charge of their families’ food security and all household work. Information campaigns targeting women could help them adopt more modern and more effective agricultural methods. This would in turn lead to reduced poverty and increased food security.’

Low productivity and post-harvest losses are two main reasons for the widespread food shortage in Sub-Saharan Africa. It would therefore be highly beneficial to introduce improved agricultural methods and better ways to store the harvests, and to strengthen the female farmers through information about the entire farming and storage process. Part of this work would consist of training of competent information officers with a passion for agricultural issues.

‘The thesis for example shows how information campaigns increased the use of modern storage methods. These methods lead to improved food security throughout the year, which is particularly important for female farmers as they carry the heavy burden of being in charge of both the household and the family’s food security,’ says Simon Wagura Ndiritu.

The women’s problems are amplified by the fact that they generally lack resources and cannot afford modern agricultural technologies. This necessitates joint efforts by government actors, society and aid organisations in order to successfully address the knowledge and resource issues.’

The doctoral thesis was written with the support of Sida’s environmental economics capacity-building programme.

Title of the doctoral thesis: Essays on gender issues, Food Security, and Technology Adoption in East Africa. Link to the thesis: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/32605

For more information please contact:
Supervisor Katarina Nordblom, +46 (0)31 786 13 38, katarina.nordblom@economics.gu.se

Annika Koldenius | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

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