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Forum LockedAfrican Women Food Farmers

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morticia View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12-May-2006 at 09:29

Women in Africa work twice as much as men — rising before dawn, and working until they are the last to go to sleep at night.

Across the 47 nations of sub-Saharan Africa, women are responsible for producing 80% of Africa’s food. These rural women are responsible for doing 80% of the work to provide the proper transport and storage of Africa’s food. They are responsible for doing 90% of the work to process Africa’s food. And, they are responsible for doing 60% of the work to market Africa’s food.

They also have the total responsibility of bearing and rearing the children, and all of the household chores.
In addition, they are responsible for providing 90% of the water, wood and fuel needs of the household – which can mean – carrying water jugs on their heads weighing as much as 70 pounds each – and walking 3-6 hours each day to fetch water and firewood.





Despite the fact that their work goes unsupported, unnoticed, and unacknowledged, and despite the fact that they are unskilled, illiterate, undernourished and without voice in the decisions affecting their lives, African women are meeting the basic survival needs of an entire continent.

Although women in Africa produce 80% of Africa’s food, they own 1% of the land and receive only 7% of the agricultural extension services.

Although women in Africa store, harvest, and market the majority of Africa’s food – they receive less than 10% of the credit given to small-scale farmers.

And, in the area of technology, as an agricultural professor in Nigeria said, "Were our ancestors to suddenly come back to life, they could pick up the same old familiar tools and go to farm on equal terms with our present-day farmers because nothing much has changed since their time."



Instead of the African woman being acknowledged, empowered or recognized for her extraordinary contribution to the African continent – she has the lowest socio-economic status in all of African society.
Power relations are so securely established – that she may be unaware of her subordinated position – and may accept her inferior status because she cannot imagine any alternative to it.

She may believe that the inequalities exist because of her individual misfortune rather than social injustice, and that her oppression is divinely ordained or biologically determined.

I wonder what will Africa look like, when the power of 100 million African women is unleashed through simple, affordable interventions!

Sources: http://www.thp.org/awffi/awffi_brochure/bro_contents.html
http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/afrec/vol11no2/women.htm

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Trust in God: She will provide." -- Emmeline Pankhurst
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Mila View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 09:46
It will be interesting to see. I think societies are far more vulnerable to any form of collapse or hardship when an entire gender is subordinated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morticia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 10:27
Agreed!

Women farmers in Africa may be poor and illiterate,but, at the same time, they are the principal force in the struggle against misery, backwardness and dependency. In many countries across the continent, rural women are pressing for a higher profile, to match their preponderant role in the cultivation and processing of the continent's food. Yet despite some progress in recent years, state agricultural programs and facilities in most African countries do not yet reflect this reality, and rural women generally remain the continent's "invisible" producers.

The FAO estimates that in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, 31 per cent of rural households are headed by women, mainly because of the tendency of men to migrate to cities in search of wage labour; in Latin America and the Caribbean only 17 per cent of rural households are headed by women, and in Asia, 14 per cent.

The FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)observes that "women have less access to land than men; when women do own land, the land holding tends to be smaller and located in more marginal areas. Rural women also have less access than men to credit, which limits their ability to purchase seeds, fertilizers and other inputs needed to adopt new farming techniques."

Here is some good news for women of Mozambique. After two years of debate and revisions, and amid cosiderable controversy, a new land tenure law was adopted in July by Mozambique's parliament. Among other things, the new law stresses the equality of men and women in obtaining land titles. Traditional land tenure practices, according to the Council of Ministers, discriminated against women's access, prompting an initial effort to remove references to "customary" law. But opposition parliamentarians from the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo), the former rebel movement, objected to these clauses, as well as to the retention of state ownership of land, with individuals granted use and occupancy rights.

The two main farmers' associations strongly supported the law, while numerous civil organizations lobbied for various amendments. The final draft compromised by reinserting a clause on customary practices, but it specified that these could not violate constitutional guarantees of gender equality. In addition, a new clause was added stating that inheritance of land must be "independent of sex." Commented Ms. Janete Assulai, a lawyer for the Rural Organization for Mutual Assistance: "Our society is accustomed to putting women in second place. We must shift the mentality. It is important to repeat gender equality in all new laws to accustom people to the new thinking."







"Morty

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