Chic African Culture Blog

African Women Don't Farm Families Don't Eat

Women farmers are arable and pastoral farmers, whose daily tasks included general handiwork, tending to livestock, plowing, planting and harvesting crops. They must produce a good crop and healthy animals in order to make a living and to feed the family. The reality for most rural African women with or without men in family life, if they do not work 7 days a week rain or shine her nor her family shall eat.

Farming while being female.

Market day in Ghana

Around the world, there are distinct roles given to women. Women play a critical role in farming Africa as well as in livestock raising and food processing. Almost half of the farming agricultural workers in sub-Saharan Africa are women, however; African women farms are far less productive than African males.

Agriculture has always played a fundamental role in the lives of people on the African continent. Whether the food is grown for household consumption or for sale women farmers contribute heavily to Africa’s agriculture.

Millions of female African farmers face a range of problems, including traditional attitudes of the role of women, denied access to owning land and claiming the land of a dead spouse or relative land not understanding their right under the law, access to credit and productive farm inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and farming tools and problems obtaining loans.

The farming gender gap

1980's wooden holding tank for seeds and grains in rural Ghana.

According to Africa's Process Panel 2013, only one in five Africans have any form of account at a formal financial institution, with the poor, rural dwellers and women facing the greatest disadvantage. Such financial exclusion undermines opportunities for reducing poverty and boosting growth.

The gender gap is particularly marked in Cameroon, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Nigeria. Gender disparities reflect a mix of social, cultural and legal barriers to women’s participation in the financial system.

Getting to market

Throughout Sierra Leone women tend to work the land without any legal land titles

When women farmers have access to finance credit, savings, and insurance they can insure themselves against risks such as drought, and invest more effectively in better seeds, fertilizers, and pest control. With access to decent roads and storage, farmers can get their harvests to market before they rot in the fields.

Trade barriers and inadequate infrastructure are preventing our farmers from competing effectively. "They are being told to box with their hands tied behind their backs" according to Africa's Process Panel 2013 report.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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