Although we have seen some progress in the fight against global hunger and under-nutrition, some 870 million people still go to bed hungry most nights.
The United States believes that one of the best ways to improve this situation is to invest more in women farmers and producers.
“In the developing world, agriculture is key to economic growth and food security,” said United States Agency for International Development or USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg at a recent conference on gender and international development at Stanford University.
“That’s why in 2009, President Obama launched the landmark initiative Feed the Future to battle the root causes of poverty and undernutrition through increased investments in agriculture-led economic growth.”
Feed the Future, the United States Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, supports countries in developing their own agriculture sectors to generate opportunities for economic growth and trade, which can help reduce poverty and hunger and improve nutrition.
According to Assistant Administrator Lindborg, “women’s lack of access to resources and opportunities is a key factor behind the underperformance of agriculture world-wide. . . . The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that closing this [gender] gap could reduce the number of undernourished people in the world by 12 to 17 percent.”
That is why the U.S. Government has placed a clear focus on increasing economic opportunities for women.
Focusing on women is crucial to increasing resilience on every level.
Focusing on women is crucial to increasing resilience on every level, from households, to communities, to entire countries. Investments in small-scale irrigation, training in alternative crops and reliable access to land have proven to be highly effective.
The next step, said Ms. Lindborg, is to ensure that around the world, women are able to access economic opportunity, as entrepreneurs who lead small and medium enterprises and as employees who are remunerated fairly for their work, and as leaders in national and local governments, so they wield true influence and decision-making authority.
“In the field of international development, there is no longer any question that the advancement of women, attention to gender issues and an inclusive approach is not only vital to protecting fundamental human rights, but also to meeting our overall development goals. And for building greater peace and security worldwide,” said Assistant Administrator Lindborg. “The evidence base is clear: we cannot get there if we leave women behind.”