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Reducing Global Hunger and Improving Child Nutrition Starts with Leveling the Field for Women Farmers

Washington, DC, March 22, 2012

In the developing world, women make up the majority of small farmers. In Africa, more than 60 percent of farmers are women; in Asia, 70 percent are women. Bread for the World Institute today released new analysis on how promoting gender equality in agriculture can help reduce global hunger and improve nutrition.

“Improving the social, economic, and political status of rural women starts with gender equality in agriculture,” said Faustine Wabwire, Bread for the World Institute foreign policy analyst. “Of equal importance is strengthening the link between agriculture and nutrition, which will lead to producing better quality foods and creating healthier communities.”

According to the new analysis, “Empowering Women in Agriculture,” the low status of women in many countries is a primary cause of high rates of hunger and malnutrition. In some societies, girls are far more likely than boys to be stunted by malnutrition. A combination of efforts to improve agriculture, focus on better nutrition for pregnant women and children younger than 2, and empower women as agents of change will help reduce gender disparities in household food consumption.

“If women farmers in developing countries had the same access to materials and services as male farmers, crop yields would increase as much as 20-30 percent per household, and reduce hunger for more than a million people,” added Wabwire. “The U.S. government needs to maintain or increase the current level of funding for poverty-focused development assistance so that we can help improve the lives of women farmers around the world.” 

Women can change their economic status. This, in turn, will transform the economic life of the communities and countries in which they live. The effort to combat poverty and ignite economic development can only come to pass if women are an integral component of the solution—if not the engine. The economic empowering of women in agriculture will translate into healthier and better educated families, and will help lift their countries out of poverty. 

To view photos of women farmers from around the world click here

Bread for the World recently launched its 2012 Offering of Letters campaign, which urges members of Congress to create a circle of protection around programs that give hungry and poor people in this country and abroad the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.


Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

Media Contact:

Christopher Ford, Media Relations Manager, 202-688-1077


Fito Moreno, Media Relations Specialist, 202-688-1138


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