Women in food production and food security in Africa

Material Information

Women in food production and food security in Africa report of the Government Consultation held in Harare, Zimbabwe, 10-13 July 1984
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations -- Human Resources, Institutions, and Agrarian Reform Division. -- Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service
Place of Publication:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
64 p. : forms ; 30 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Women in agriculture -- Africa ( lcsh )
Women farmers -- Africa ( lcsh )
Rural women -- Africa ( lcsh )
Food supply -- Africa ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Full Text

women in food production and food security in Africa





Report of the
Government Consultation held in
Harare, Zimbabwe, 10 - 13 JulY 1984

Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service Human Resources, Institutions and Agrarian Reform Division




List of appendixes

Appendix 1 AGENDA 8
(a) Minister T. R. Nhongo 53
(b) Mr. J. A. C. Davies 55
(c) Dr. R. S. Finney 57


A major milestone along the road to recognition of the role of African women in food production was established in Harare, Zimbabwe, when delegates from 37 of PAO'S 50 Member Nations in Africa attended a Government Consultation on this subject from
July 10 to 13, 1984Delegates to the consultation, which was sponsored by PAO, presented extensive reports on the conditions and activities of women as the principal producers and providers of food in their countries.

Agriculture has always been the main activity in Africa. Up to colonial times the work of cultivating the land was shared among the family members, with men doing the heavy labour like clearing and ploughing the land and handling livestock, and women sowing, weeding, hoeing and harvesting, and looking after small animals.

The colonial powers upset this balance of agricultural responsibilities by using men to produce cash crops. Training was given to them while women, whose efforts were devoted to noncommercial food crops on which to feed their families, were ignored.

This situation continued into postcolonial times, with women's role being underestimated and even invisible to policy-makers and planners for development. It is only in the last decade that real progress has begun to be made.

An important initiative was taken in 1979 when the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) endorsed a new approach to development, emphasizing, among other things, the improvement of women's conditions.

The World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) recognized that including women was a. prerequisite for the success of economic development. It was the first major international conference to focus on the importance of rural women's contribution to the economic wellbeing of a community, as farmers as well as homemakers. It called for rural women to be given equal access to land, water and other natural re.sources, to inputs, markets and services, to education, training and extension, to partioipation in group organizations and to the development of non-farm income-earning activities.

Since this conference a number of important meetings has been held and a reorientation of field programmes has become possible.

In 1983 the PAO Committee on Agriculture reappraised the role of women in agricultural production and approved a programme on women and food staples as the paper Follow-up to WCARRD: the role of women in agricultural production.

The Twenty-second PAO Conference which took place in Rome in November 1983 also recognized the vital role played by women in agricultural production. It recommended that' more action should be taken to help rural women with their responsibilities for produotion. It also called for periodic reports on progress in this matter to be discussed at regional conferences and to be included in reports to the 1987 PAO Conference.

In December 1983 a global Expert Consultation on Women and Food Production was held in Rome. Having made an assessment of existing data on women's role in development, the consultation recommended changes needed in policies and programmes and the implementation of these. It suggested priorities for action at national, regional and international levels with special regard to supportive policies and actions which could be considered by PAO and Member Nations.

As a consequence of these recommendations and because of the food crisis in Africa, the Government Consultation whibh is the subject of this report was organized to take place a few days before the Thirteenth Regional Conference for Africa which was held, also in Harare, from 16 to 25 July, 1984.

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The objectives of the consultation were as follows:

(a) To develop recognition of and support for African rural women's contribution
to food production and food security;
(b) To consider strategies needed to strengthen African rural women's contribution
to food production and food security;
(c) To identify innovative participatory methods and approaches for policy and
action programmes;
(d) To formulate recommendations to PAO, to be taken into consideration in planning
and implementing PAO's programmes and work throughout the Africa region;
(e) To suggest policy and programme guidelines to the governments of the Member
Nations of the Africa region, with particular attention to the integration of
women's concerns in the following:
- national agricultural and rural development strategies and programmes;
- institutional development efforts;
- reorientating extension, training, credit and marKeting activities;
- land reform and resettlement programmes;
(f) To establish priorities for follow-up action and FAO assistance, including
technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) and exchange among
Member Nations of the Africa region.

In the light of the severity of Africa's crisis and the widespread famine exacerbated by prolonged and unprecedented drought,'the early attainment of national selfreliance in food production was identified at the consultation as the most urgent task.

It was recognized that this involves national food strategies and integrated rural development, especially in the achievement of food security, and in discussions the issue of food security emerged as being inextricably interwoven with the role of rural women in production.


3-1 Participation

The 37 PAO Member Nations which participated in the consultation were: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The delegates represented either the ministries responsible for agricultural and/or rural development or their country's national machinery for the integration of women in
development .

PAO sent senior officers from the Economic and Social Policy Department (ES), from the Regional Office for Africa in Accra, Ghana, and from a rural women's project in Zimbabwe.

Six other UN organizations and agencies sent representatives: the International
Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Council for Namibia (UNCN), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WITO). Two donor countries, Belgium and the Netherlandsv sent observers, and so did two women's international nongovernmental organizations, the Associated Country Women of the World (ACCW) and the Young Women's Christian As location (YWCA).

J/ The ultimate objective of food security, as defined by the Director-General of PAO, is 'to ensure that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to the basic food they need'.

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One African liberation movement, the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), sent an observer from its women's council.

(See Appendix 2 for a complete list of participants.)

3.2 Opening session, 10 July 1984

The consultation was opened by Ms. T.R. Nhongo, Minister of Country Development and Women's Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

After welcoming participants, observers and guests, the minister provided an overview of rural development problems in Africa, stressing the role of women at every stage of the food cycle and the necessity of giving them financial and technological support. Ms. Nhongo also referred to the efforts her ministry is making to help women at the grassroots level.

(See Appendix 6 (a) for the text of Ms. Nhongo's statement.)

Mr. J.A.G. Davies, PAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, in his statement underlined the importance PAO is attaching to the role of women in agricultural production and reviewed the agency's efforts to promote food security throughout the Africa region and the assistance being provided to rural women.

Mr. Davies also pointed out that the recommendations from the consultation would be discussed at the 13th PAO Regional Conference for Africa which would take place in Harare from 16 to 25 July 1984, and would therefore have an impact on future PAO policies and projects.

(See Appendix 6 (b) for the text of Mr. Davies's address.)

3.3 Nomination of officers

The delegates elected the following officers:

Chairperson:. Ms. Angelina Makwavarara, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of' Community Development and Women's Affairs, Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe; Vice-chairperson: Dr. Badi Sittelnafar, Head of the Grain Technology Department of the Food Research Centre, Government of the Democratic Republic of the Sudan; Rapporteur: Ms. Joyce Gbegbelegbe-Dofonsou, Officer-in-charge of the National Organization for the Promotion of Rural Women's Activities, People's Repu )lic of Benin.

3.4 Adoption of the agenda

The agenda presented by the Human Resources, Institutions and Agrarian Reform Division of PAO was adopted by the consultation.

(see Appendix 1 for the agenda.)

3.5 Presentation of technical issues

Dr. Ruth Finney, Chief of the Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service of PAO's Human Resources. Institutions and Agrarian Reform Division (ESHW), then presented the technical issues, defining the scope of the consultation and the expected results.

Dr. Finney emphasized the severity of the food crisis in Africa, the important and neglected contributions of African rural women in food production and food security, and the disastrous effects of rural women's isolation from most African agricultural and rural women in food production and food security, and the disastrous effects of rural women's isolation from most African agricultural and rural development efforts. She stressed the need for concrete action, and said that discussion of successful and failed interventions must focus on consulting rural women themselves and on responding to their needs as rapidly and as effectively as possible.

(See Appendix 6 (c) for the text of Dr. Finney's presentation.)

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3.6 Workin sessions, 10 - 11 July 1984

Each national delegation presented its official statement. A list of points for preparation of these country studies had been sent in advance, together with a set of country fact sheets to identify women's role in agriculture and food production. The intention was to organize descriptive information and make the statements consistent with one another.

(See Appendix 5 for a set of country fact sheets.)

The Government of Zimbabwe complemented the documentary evidence provided by the delegates by arranging a field trip to vegetable production projects carried out by women's groups.

Discussion of the country statements and of the FAO technical documents (see Appendix 7) enabled the participants to identify common issues and formulate recommendations for action.

3.7 Closing session, 13 July 1984

The final report of the consultations was presented, discussed and adopted by the delegates. A detailed programme of'recommendations for future action constituted the key section of the report.

(See Appendix 4 for detailed recommendations.)

The delegates expressed appreciation to FAO for sponsoring this important technical meeting and to the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe for its hospitality and for the facilities provided.


The country reports presented by the delegates to the consultation gave a bleak picture of the lot of' African women. The showed, in the words of many, that there is still a long wav to go.

Delegates described how women may work up to 18 hours a day cultivating, harvesting, processing, storing and preparing food. The chief responsibility for earning income to meet their families' daily needs falls on them, so to their other efforts is added that of marketing any surplus production.

In many places women constitute between 70 and 90 percent of the agricultural labour force, working on family subsistence plots as well as helping men in the production of cash crops. They labour with primitive and rudimentary implements that have hardly changed from the beginning of history. Yet although they provide the vital food crops, any technological innovations and improvements that are made are directed at men. Training is given to men rather than women. Extension services remain male-dominated.

Drought, the failure of crops and livestock and the need to earn cash have forced many men to migrate to the towns. This has increased the burden of women, who are left to run the farms as heads of households often consisting only of the womenfolk, old people and children. The heavy work such as-clearing and ploughing the land, traditionally performed by the men, must now be undertaken by the women, either by themselves or by hiring labour.

The amount of land available to women is generally limited. They have great difficulty in raising credit to modernize their methods and equipment. In the words of one delegate, "they are society's rejects".

Several countries reported efforts by their governments to improve the condition of women and to bring them in-to full equality with men. Structures for their training and education have been set up, women's groups and cooperatives are being encouraged, and, of fundamental importance, attempts are being made to change attitudes which have contributed to women's destiny over the centuries.

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(Summaries of individual country reports are given in Appendix 3-)


The consultation's recommendations were based on the country statements presented by delegates on the role of women in food production and their contribution to food security, and the discussions which followed their presentation.

They fall into seven broad categories identified during the meeting as priority areas:
(a) Rural women and food security;
(b) Education, extension and training programmes;

c) Attitudes;
d) Access to land;
(e) Credit, marketing and price policies;
(f) Research;
(g) Policy planning and research allocation.

Some of the recommendations, briefly summarized, are as follows: to provide price incentives, transportation and marketing facilities to encourage the production and commercialization of food crops; to provide for the development of appropriate tools and technologies for women farmers' tasks and provide help in their management and maintenance; to establish equal pay for female and male agricultural workers; to include both women and men in training and extension programmes wherever feasible; to train farmwomen in literacy, farm management and accounting; to introduce a wider conception of women's roles into general education and teacher training, using mass media; to promote women's ownership of and access to land; to change existing laws and practices which may limit their ownership and access; to provide credit to women for all steps in the food cycle;
to develop roads and transportation from rural to urban areas; to carry out research that can lead to developments which benefit women farmers; to reflect in government development plans the contribution which women farmers make to development; to allocate and develop funds specifically for women within any large integrated rural development or agricultural project.

(The full text of the recommendations is given in Appendix 4).

The recommendations constitute a complete and well-balanced action programme to assist African women and improve their contribution to the production and distribution of food. They were adopted and strongly endorsed in their entirety by the Thirteenth Regional Conference for Africa, Harare, 16-25 July 1984.

It was intended that the recommendations should be taken into account by governments and the related concepts introduced into national plans and policies. They were also meant to be used as guidelines by international organizations, bilateral agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in assisting governments to implement integrated agricultural and rural development programmes and projects as well as projects addressing the specific needs of rural women.

6. FOLL014-UP

As recommended by the consultation, FAO has held follow-up subregional meetings to keep the issue alive. The first of these took place in Cape Verde in December 1984. It was attended by representatives of the Portuguese-speaking countries and concentrated on techniques and approaches related to the formulation and design of projects reaching rural women.

A second subregional meeting was organized in Dakar, Senegal, in May 1985 for the Francophone countries. It concentrated on agricultural extension and training.

Two other subregional workshops on the formulation and design of women's projects are scheduled for late 1985 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Harare, Zimbabwe, for the English-speaking West African countries. These workshops are intended to focus not only on the role of women in food production but also on an exchange of information on the activities undertaken by governments in the two subregions. Delegates will discuss the

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technical aspects of project development.

The umbrella programme Women in Food Systems (WIFS), launched in 1983, aims at
strengthening rural development policies, plans and support services reaching rural women in order to increase family food production.

This programme focuses on women's roles and needs in the production of items such as basic grains, root crops, dairy products and horticulture. It includes ways in which extension, credit and marketing, agrarian reform, rural institutions and agroindustries may facilitate involvement of women and promote benefits to them. Women in Food Systems (WIFS) has ongoing projects in several African countries (Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia.)

FAO is also executing a number of African Women Farmers' Demonstration Projects
at least one large-scale project in every subregion- with the financial support of several donor countries, Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway, and other financing sources such as the Arab Gulf Fund and FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of these projects will enable feedback from actual experience to go into policy-making.

Another umbrella programme, Community Action for Disadvantaged Rural Women (CADRW), is being implemented through group action, for rural women facing adverse conditions.

A participatory approach encourages women to identify their needs and suggest project activities. Target groups include female plantation workers, women in resettlement schemes, women refugees and women in areas of high male out-migration. The projects are designed to stimulate women's groups to engage in various income-generating and foodproducing activities identified by the group members themselves, with attention paid to both their domestic and producing roles.

Particular attention has been paid in the past year to credit and marketing as they affect women. FAO has sponsored self-help activities (marketing and income raising) at village level. It has sponsored seminars at policy-making level. It has organized demonstration/training workshops in several countries using a farmer-trains-farmer approach.

Promotion of women's activities in marketing and credit: - an analysis, case studies and suggested actions has been produced by FAO as a guideline for government policy planners. Under preparation are two manuals, Learning from rural women and A marketing manual for rural women.

Training packages have been developed for rural women's groups, especially in areas where women constitute the major part of the rural labour force. Subjects include the management of mills by women's groups and activities to improve the technology of domestic energy.

In the field of research, case studies have produced valuable'material on women's roles in livestock production, post-harvest processing and storage. Baseline studies of women's activities have been conducted in several African countries to identify women's needs and appropriate activities for inclusion in rural development projects.

Other studies include the division of agricultural labour by task and sex in seven African countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Mali, Senegal, Zaire); a study on the role played by women in farming systems in Zambia; and another on the impact of mechanization on women's socioeconomic conditions in Uganda.

- A new FAO publication series, Women in agriculture, was initiated in 1984. It is intended for the use in the design of projects and programmes which emphasize the role of women in the production of specific commodities or in specific subject-matter areas. The first titles are Women in agricultural production, Women in rice-farming systems. Women in food production and food security in Africa, Women in developing agriculture, Women in irrigated agriculture, Women in forestry and Women in agricultural cooperatives.

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The theme of the 1984 World Food Day was women in agriculture. It was the occasion for seminars, symposia, debates and lectures, slide and film shows, TV and radio broadcasts, and poster and photographic exhibitions on this issue all over the world. In New York a seminar at the United Nations was attended by NGOsl country delegates and academicians.

Finally, a film, The forgotten farmers: women and food security, was prepared to be shown at the end of the Decade for Women Conference in Nairobi, and is intended to be used in discussion groups, on national televisions and on World Food Day in 1985.

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Appendix 1


1. Opening of the consultation

- Statements by-the representative of the host country and the
representative of PAO

2. Election of chairperson, vice-chairperson and rapporteur

3. Adoption of the agenda

4. Introduction of the meeting and its scope

5. Presentation of the technical papers and discussion

6. Country statements

7. Identification of common issues for discussion and action

8. Recommendations on follow-up

9. Presentation of the final report and discussions 10. Any other matters 11. Adoption of the report 12. Closing of the consultation


Appendix 2


Member Nations in Africa











Ms. MARIA FILOMENA LOBAO TELO DELGADO Regional Secretary to Panafrican Women's Organization, Luanda
Ms. JOYCE GBEGBELEGBE DOFONSOU Responsable de l'organisme nationale pour la promotion des activists de la femme rurale, Porto Novo
Mr. OSCAR NDABIKINGIYE Directeur du Ddpartement de l'Agronomie, Ministbre de l'Agriculture
Ms. MARIE SOLANGE NIGNAN Responsable d'une zone d'animation de la DPFD, Ministbre des Affaires Sociales, Ouagadougou
Ms. ELIZABETH BALEPA Directrice Adjointe des Etudes et Projets, Ministbre de l'Agriculture, Yaound6 Ms. NENETTE NAMBILO Directrice du Ddveloppement Communautaire, Bangui
Ms. MARIAM TITIMBAYE Direotrice de la Promotion Fdminine et des Affaires Sociales, Ndjam~na Mr. RACHIDE
Directeur des Eaux et For~ts et Direoteur Adjoint du Centre Federal d'Afrique au Ddveloppement Rural (CEFADER), Moroni Ms. GEORGETTE DANDOU Chef de Bureau de la Coordination du Secretariat Gdn~ral I l'Agriculture et A l'Elevage, Ministbre de l'Agriculture et de l'Elevage, Brazzaville Mr. MICHEL MOMBOULI Reprdsentant Permanent Adjoint du Congo auprbs de la FAO, Rome
Ms. TAFESSE KEBKABE Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa
Ms. SAFIATU SINGATEH Executive Secretary to the Gambia Women's Bureau, Banjul
Ms. HADJA F. SAKE BALDE Direotrice Adjointe de Service de Nutrition et d'Alimentation, Direction Nationale des Services de Prevention, Conakry
Ms. VICTORIA GOMES DJASSI Technicien de l'Agriculture, Ministbre du D6veloppement Rural, Bissau Ms. ROSA ABEME OTONG Director General de la Promoci6n de la Mujer, Malabo

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Directeur de la Promotion Rural au
Ministbre du Ddveloppement Rural, Abidjan KENYA Ms. GRACE W. MAINA
Head, Home Economics and Rural Youth
Programmes, Ministry of Agriculture and
Livestock Development, Nairobi
Home Economics Officer, Ministry of
Staff Assistant/Administration, Ministry of
Chef de Service de la Progranmation,
Ministbre de la Production Agricole et de
l'Expansion Rural, Antananarivo
Food and Nutrition Officer, Ministry of
Agriculture, Lilongwe
Charge d'4tudes, Institut d'Economie
Rurale, Ministbre de l'Agriculture, Bamako MAURITANIA Mr. AHMED SALEM WOULD MOLOUD
Directeur de l'Agriculture, Ministbre du
D~veloppement Rural, Nouakchott NIGER Ms. HADJIA KANTA REKIA
Directrice de la Promotion de la Femme
Ministbre de la Jeunesse, des Sports et de
la Culture, Niamey
Principal Agricultural Officer
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Lagos

Directeur G~ndral de la Production
Agricole, Ministbre de l'Agriculture et
des Forets, Kigali
Chef, Division de la Promotion F~minine, Ministbre du D~veloppement Social, Dakar SIERRA LEONE Mr. T.E.C. PALMER
Principal.Agricultural Officer, Ministry
of Agriculture and Natural Resources,
Head of Grain Technology Department, Food
Research Centre, Khartoum-North SWAZILAND Ms. NOMUSA DLAMINI
Agricultural Economist, Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mbabane
Principal Community Development Officer,
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives,

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Senior Cultural Officer, Prime Minister's
Office, Dar-Es-Salaam Ms. FRANCISCA KATAGIRA
Agricultural Officer, Extension and
Technical Services Division, Ministry of
Agriculture, Dar-Es-Salaam TOGO Ms. AHLONKOBA AITHNARD
Directrice Gdndrale de la Condition
Feminine, Lomd
Ministbre de la Famille et de la Promotion
de la Femme, Tunis
Senior Agricultural Officer, Home Economics,
Ministry of Agriculture, Kampala ZAIRE Ms. BOMPESE MWIMBA
Conseiller Principal, D6partement de la
Condition Fdminine et des Affaires Sociales,
Senior Home Economist, Ministry of
Agriculture and Water Development, Lusaka
Women's Programme Adviser, Ministry of
Agriculture and Water Development, Lusaka ZIMBABWE Ms. ANGELICA MAKWAVARARA
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community
Development and Women's Affairs, Harare
Under-Secretary, Ministry of Community Development and Women's Affairs, Harare
Assistant Director, Cooperatives and Rural
Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Harare
Assistant Secretary for Planning, Ministry of Community
Development and Women's Affairs, Harare
Community Development Officer, Ministry of Community Development and Women's Affairs,
Projects Officer, Ministry of Community Development and Women's Affairs, Harare
Principal Research Officer, Farming Systems
Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Harare
Vice President, National Federation of Women's Institutes of Zimbabwe, Harare
Observer Status, National Council of Women, Harare
Head of Department, Nutrition and
Community Development, Harare.

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N.B. The Republic of Cape Verde was unable to send a delegate, but dispatched the text
of the country statement, which is summarized with the statements of the other
Member Nations in section 5.


Observers from Member Nations not in the Africa region


NETHERLANDS Representatives of

Project Coordinator, Research on Cooperatives and Rural Development, Cootibo Mr. JANSEN LOES
Field Aepresentative, Organization of Netherlands Volunteers, Ministry of Development Cooperation

the United Nations and of the specialized agencies


Mr. J.A.C. DAVIES Assistant Director-General Representative for Africa Mr. R. MORENO Director, Human Resources, Agrarian Reform Division

and Regional

Institutions and

Dr. R.S. FINNRY Chief, Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service, Human Resources, Institutions and Agrarian Reform Division
Ms. F. PROJA-RONCHI Chief, Nutrition Programme Service, Food Policy and Nutrition Division
Mr. S. EROZER Senior Officer, Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service
Ms. M. CALON FAO Project Expert, Zimbabwe



Mr. N. TRYGGVE Adviser on Cooperative Training and Education Mr. BELA U. DIRK Programme Officer, Zambia
Mr. M.M.S. SHOMARI Representative, Zimbabwe

Mr. L. KAPUNGU Principal Secretary

Ms. C. BJERRING Junior Professional Officer

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Ms. A. VAN RYNBACH Focal Point on Women in Development Ms. LENA JOB THEOFLO Representative

Observers from international non-governmental organizations



Ms. B.F. Mtero National Chairman, Association of Women's Clubs (on behalf of ACWW) Ms. M. PIKININI Demonstrator for Home Crafts

Ms. C. MABUSELA Executive Director

Ms. M. SAMUDZIMU Deputy Chief Commissioner

African liberation movements


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Appendix 3



Agriculture is the main activity of Angola, in terms of both the value of production and the percentage of the population employed. Approximately 90 percent of all Angolans practise subsistence agriculture. However, the lack of data on the subsistence economy makes it impossible to estimate the total volume and value of national agricultural output.

Women in agriculture: precolonial society

Labour was divided by age and sex. Shifting slash-and-burn cultivation was common to all tribes. Men cleared the land, while women were in charge of burning grass, preparing the soil, planting, watering, thinning and weeding.

When crops required constant vigilance, women would spend weeks at a time on their farms, cooking fungi (made from cassava or maize flour) with dried fish in the fields and leaving the rest of the housework to their daughters or their neighbours. They also cultivated onakas (small farms) near the rivers to provide for their families when food was in short supply. Harvesting was normally a collective process, involving the entire family or the whole community.

Cattle were men's responsibility and were reserved chiefly for paying fines and the bride price; meat was consumed only during festivities. Fishing and hunting were also male tasks. Women cared for small livestock and preserved meat or fish; some women helped their husbands to fish. Men and women shared responsibility for marketing in the barter economy.

Women were responsible for the arduous and time-consuming tasks of'food processing and preparation: cleaning, threshing and grinding grain; salting, drying and smoking meat and fish; drying corn and beans; pounding cassava and yams; and so forth. Preparing a meal took at least three hours. Although women had no modern technology, they made sure that their families were well fed.

The colonial period

Women's situation underwent little or no improvement. Education, technical training and professional opportunities were directed toward men. Needing manpower for their farms, the Europears engaged males as contractual labourers for one or more years at a time. While men did not abandon their farms completely, usually returning for a year or two before resuming work as contratados, women were left with a double burden for the duration of the contract. They were obliged to work their husbands' farms as well as their own, selling the surplus production in order to purchase clothing and to pay taxes and other fees.

Although women had greater economic opportunities and a certain independence, the
additional responsibilities left little time for improving the production of food for the family. The overall impact on women's lives and on family nutrition was thus negative. This was also the case when men migrated to urban areas to earn a better living.

In densely populated regions, European tilling machines were used and surplus production was marketed, often involving long treks from farm to village. However, in the parts of the interior where there was little contact with Europeans, production remained at the subsistence level and no technological changes were introduced.

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The present

While traditional production and processing methods have scarcely changed, the Government - knowing the importance of women's role in food production and food security has made the integration of women in agricultural development a priority. Together with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and several United Nations agencies, the Angolan Women's Organization (OMA) has implemented some strategies to improve food production.

Rural women are members of farmers' associations and so receive land, seeds, fertilizers and modern farm implements (such as in Malanje). Rural women also receive training in modern production, processing, and marketing techniques. In addition, more women are being trained as agronomists, tractor operators and nutritionists. However, all these efforts are plagued by a lack of appropriate equipment.

With the help of local and international bodies, the Angolan Women's Organization
(OMA) can fulfill its obligations by providing training in all fields related to agi iculture and animal husbandry.


Benin is a predominantly agricultural country; more than 80 percent of its population lives in rural areas and is engaged in agricultural or para-agricultural activities. The population of the country totalled 3 338 240 in 1979, with a growth rate of 2.6 'Percent.

The main crops are maize, sorghum, millet and small millet, rice, groundnuts, cotton, yams, beans and vegetables (leafy vegetables, tomatoes and gombo). Oil palms and karate (shea) nuts are produced as well.

Most agricultural production comes from the smallholder sector, where there is still some division of labour by sex. Women in agricultural production are engaged essentially in the following activities: sowing, weeding, applying fertilizer, harvesting, transportation, handling, processing, and retail marketing.

In small-animal husbandry, women look after young animals and poultry, though men feed the animals during the penning period. (Animals are left in the fields after the harvest.) Cattle are often given to herders; men look after pasturing. In fiPheries, women are engaged mainly in marketing or handling of the catch. For all farm produce, women are engaged in retail marketing at the local level. There are also women traders who supply the cities with farm produce.

In addition to the family holding, women frequently have fields of their own which they cultivate. In societies where women do not plough the fie ' lds, they hire labourers if the men of their families cannot assist them. Twenty percent of the female population. works in the agricultural sector. As many women work on family holdings as do men (e.g. 141 328 women as against 138 066 men in Borgou Province).

Agricultural extension services are geared to the different categories of producers (men and women), but programmes specifically for rural women), but programmes specifically for rural women have to be strengthened. These programmes cover:

- research on appropriate technology;
- supply of drinking water and firewood;
- familiarizing extension workers with appropriate technology
(utilization and maintenance) and cooperative management;
- farmers' training (technical and cultural training);
- financing of specific activities.

- 16 -


Burkina Faso is a landlocked country of West Africa. Its primary agricultural sector.employs 91.8 percent of the working population. Women account for 62 percent of the resident population, estimated at 7 million inhabitants.

While agricultural projects have tried to stimulate economic development, they have done little for the female population. Women are concentrated almost entirely in rural areas, as shown by the following data:

92 percent of women live in rural areas,
3 percent of women live in semi-urban areas, 5 percent of women live in the major towns.

Rural women's activities

Subjected to the difficult conditions of traditional society, women have a twofold function in rural communities. They represent a labour force and at the same time they rear their children and look after the household. They are engaged in all branches of agricultural and artisanal production.

As in many African countries, women play a more important role than men in food processing. This is done by hand, individually or in groups; it may take several days and involve great physical effort. Women look after the grain in the granary belonging to the head of the household and transport it from the fields to the village. They also preserve and store the produce of their own fields.

Modernization, which has created new needs, has increased women's participation in income generation and in the life of the household.

Action in favour of women

The Government, aware of women's problems, has created structures for training and educating them.

(1) Home economics units of the Ministry of Rural Development work in the following
- disseminating modern farming techniques;
- improving agricultural and food technology;
- making better uses of food resources.

(2) The Ministry of Social Affairs devotes a great part of its efforts to promoting
rural women. This involves:
- literacy and language training;.
- handicrafts - dyeing, weaving, basket-making and pottery;
- small-animal husbandry and family gardening;
- community activities; - management training;
- stimulating changes in attitudes.

Nongovernmental organizations are helping the Government in such activities.


Thanks to Burundi's favourable geographic location, livestock husbandry and the oultivation of many crops are possible:

Cash crops such as coffee (robusta and arabica), tea, cotton, sugarcane, cinchona,
oil palms;
Food crops such as rice, maize, wheat, beans, peas, soybeans, groundnuts, potatoes,
sweet potatoes, cassava, bananas, as well as various fruits and vegetables.

- 17 -

Women have no special status in Burundi; they are considered on the same footing as their husbands, the heads of families. This also applies to national affairs. Burundian women have a double role. In the household, they manage the family possessions and they take part in productive and agricultural work. They also have the last word in decisionmaking.

In public life, woman is man's equal before the law. She enjoys the same rights.
Therefore, she must participate in the country's development like all Burundian citizens.

To enable women to participate actively in the country's development, the Government has taken priority measures to remove existing constraints. They involve better training, extension services and equipment. To this end, the Ministry for the Status of Women and the Union of Burundian Women were established. The Ministries of Social Affairs and Rural Development also deal with the status of Burundian women.

As elsewhere in Africa, women have an important role in food production. They organize ploughing, sowing, weeding, harvesting and storage; they direct operations and manage the farms.

The Government is fully aware of this. Women need education, extension services, equipment and protection; they must be integrated into the productive forces of the nation. They account for 54 percent of the 90 percent of the total population which is engaged in agricultural production, especially food production.

Women need training from their earliest age on a par with men's. As women often
play the leading role in agricultural work, extension workers deal with them in the first place. They are being trained at group meetings or during individual visits. To emphasize training even further, the Government plans to assign more female extension workers to rural.women.

Such extension work is also being carried on at nearly all training establishments: in primary schools (by the Rural Education Bureau) in secondary schools (through school gardens as well as through courses in farming and animal husbandry), and through producer and marketing cooperatives. This is to be complemented by providing producers with the inputs needed.

The Government, which realizes the importance of women in national socioeconomic development and the value of their technical knowhow, has decided to train them and inform them for better participation in the country's development.


Cameroon is an essentially agricultural country which derives from this activity 70 percent of its foreign exchange revenue (excluding earnings from petroleum), or 30 percent of its GDP. Agriculture provides the major source of income for 70 percent of the population and, above all, ensures food self-sufficiency for the country's 9 million people.

Cameroon comprises various climatic zones with different vegetation. There is a
great diversity of rich soils, making for variety in regional agricultural production and a wide range of commodities. Cropping systems also vary with the ecological zone, and the difficulty of women's work depends on the area and the customs of the social milieu.

Responsible for feeding the family and a stabilizing factor in rural areas, the
Cameroonian woman plays a central role on the traditional holding of which her husband is head; her role is acknowledged, and she is proud of it. In fact, she is mainly responsible for the food self-sufficiency of the whole nation.

Cameroonian women face many obstacles to improved productivity. This is due to the heritage of the colonial authority, which favoured men's work. Research, by its emphasis on export crops (coffee, cocoa and cotton) consequently biased the development of all other services (subsidies, input supply, credit, marketing, extension services, etc.), and food crops were neglected.

- 18 -

The specific characteristics of agricultural activities in Cameroon and of traditional Cameroonian society make it difficult to launch women's programmes which do not take into account all aspects of the development of small farms, which are women's environment.

Under the Fifth Plan, the Government has adopted a seven-point agricultural policy. To achieve its objectives, the national strategy aims to develop the agricultural potential of the various launching national programmes and regional projects, both
-for the agricultural sector and for integrated rural development.

It is necessary to train and educate young rural couples and to gear the extension services to food production. In addition, donors who wish to help Cameroonian rural women improve their contribution to food production and food security could finance smallscale integrated pilot food-crop and storage-projects which are appropriate for traditional farming.

In any case, Cameroonrealizes that it will be unable to feed its 14 million inhabitants in the year 2000 unless efforts are made to modernize its agriculture and to settle many young couples in rural areas.


Cape Verdian women suffer from juridical and social inequality based on sexual discrimination, resulting from the system of colonial exploitation and the general socioeconomic situation. The problems affecting the population therefore hit women particularly hard. Women account for 26.8 percent of all those permanently employed, 30.4 percent of persons holding temporary jobs and 54-7 percent of the unemployed. The lack of detailed statistics makes it difficult to specify the pectoral division of labour.

The very low levels of school enrolment and vocational training have a direct impact on women's participation in various economic sectors. Activities that do not require ,schooling or specific training usually are carried on by women.

About 90 percent of the economically active population lives in rural areas, engaged in subsistence farming (in which results depend on climatic factors). Work in the fields is done mainly by boys, by women aged 45 to 54, and by the aged (both men and women). Housework is done exclusively by women.

In farm work, there is no sharp division of labour between men and women (although some does exist in certain rained farming operations). Irrigated cultivation uses mainly male labour except during the harvest, when the labour force is composed equally of men and women. With the increase in the number of men who emigrate, about 37 percent of women are now family heads.

To raise women's productivity and to allow them to participate directly in the
country's economic life, it is necessary to adopt institutional measures that will change their 'present social status. This involves development of population policy, human resources policy (including creation of technologies appropriate to rural development, especially those which women can use), a programme for people's participation (literacy, agricultural extension, agrarian reform, etc.), a programme to save energy (which is provided mainly by wood), and a public health programme.


The Central African Republic, a landlocked country situated in the centre of Africa, has a population of 3 000 000; women represent more than 50 percent of the total. .

The agricultural situation (especially as regards food production), while not alarming,-gives cause for concern. In spite of the fresh start given to food crops in 1979, output has yet to regain the level of 1973-1974, the last year of surplus production. The 1983 farming season was affected by drought. Cassava and maize, staple foods of the population, were particularly hard hit.

- 19 -

Production is very near the food-shortage threshold, with important implications for the defensive role of women producers. However, they face major constraints which prevent them from stepping up agricultural production and thus achieving food selfsufficiency. These constraints are a lack of inputs, of information and of infrastructure.

The Government, in its 1982-1985 action plan, gives priority to food self-sufficiency be adopting a strategy based on a global integrated approach appropriate for women's responsibilities. The emphasis is placed on extension and training which will encourage women to assume greater responsibilities.


Chad is one of the agricultural countries of Central Africa with a high percentage of women in the agricultural population. The food crops most widely grown by women are millet, sorghum, sesame, beans, taro, rice, cassava and maize. But this is a subsistence agriculture without any modern technical equipment or improved seed to increase production and generate a marketable surplus to improve living conditions for the women producers.

It is unfortunate that in a country like Chad, afflicted by famine and malnutrition, modernization is focused exclusively on cash crops. Without any financial resources of their own, the women experience considerable difficulty in substituting the plough for the hoe. They are society's rejects, having no access to agricultural credit.

Women's Promotion, a national body established on 11 October 1982 with the formation of the first Government of the Third Republic, intends to rehabilitate Chadian women in every sphere and ensure their integration into the development process by defending their rights, by involving them in income-generating activities, and by literacy campaigns. (At present more than 80 percent of Chadian women are illiterate). It is also proposed to organize women in cooperatives so that they may in due course have access to bank credit.

The Chadian delegation wishes to point out that women and children are factors of
strength for the State. Ways and means of helping these vulnerable groups and of providing adequate resources for their development must be found. In the case of Chad - a country cruelly afflicted by the joint effects of drought, war and rinderpest - this.development would involve highly mechanized agriculture and watershed management (irrigated crops) to achieve the food self-sufficiency advocated by the Lagos Plan of Action which Chad has fully supported.

The delegation hopes that this consultation will lead to concrete measures to make the agricultural activities of women more profitable and thus improve their living conditions in general.


Comorian women have always played an active role in food production. With the aoquisition of land by the indigenous people around 1960, they continued to participate in agricultural production, without the introduction of technical or technological improvements. Because of the population growth rate (3-5 percent), traditional fallowing practices are no longer possible, and the family farm, already fragmented, becomes impoverished and degraded by erosion.

The rural family is engaged mainly in agricultural activities, including cultivation. of food crops; oerals (rice and maize), tubers (potatoes, cassava, yams and other local types) eggplant, groundnuts, voheme, ambrerade, bananas and other fruits. Cash crops still have a prominent place, since they constitute the most remunerative of rural activities. Animal husbandry is also a primary concern of rural families.

Rural women must be considered the driving force in agricultural production since
they undertake 60 to 70 percent of the work. They do 90 percent of the work in vegetable

- 20 -

cultivation. Men's activities are limited to clearing land, heavy ploughing and the planting of Borne shrub and tree crops. Women undertake a considerable portion (50 percent) of the work on cash crops: weeding, artificial fertilization, harvesting, transportation, and part of the marketing. Animal husbandry is the exclusive preserve of men, but with the promotion of small livestock husbandry (poultry and rabbits), an additional task has fallen on women.

To ensure food selfsufficiency, the Comoros have chosen the strategy of integrated rural development.


* The population of the People's Republic of the Congo is estimated at 1 550 880; 52 percent live in rural areas and draw their livelihood from agriculture. There are more than 500 000 workers in the agricultural sector.

The principal land users are:

- State farms controlled by the Foodorops Board (OCV);
- Preocoperative and cooperative groups;
- Small farms, which produce 90 percent of total food output and all cash crops.

The division of labour follows the traditional pattern. Women are responsible for 90 percent of the labour involved in food production. In villages, women raise small livestock and gather wood and edible wild vegetables. They are engaged in artisanal fishing and are responsible for all fish-processing operations. In general, only a tiny part of women's production is consumed by the family; the rest is sold.

The importance of women's role in food production has been acknowledged by all, and every effort must be made to improve their working conditions. Farmers - including women - benefit from the Government's actions to promote agriculture. But there is no Government policy aimed specifically at rural women. It would be desirable for governments to study a policy for purchasing foodcrops at remunerative prices.

During project formulation:

(1) Women should participate in decisions concerning their problems;
(2) A policy facilitating access to credit on more favourable terms should be
(3) Extension services should be tailored to both cash crops and foodorops.

The newly established decentralized structures have the following tasks:
-grassroots training and extehsion;
-distribution of inputs (improveed seeds, fertilizers, plant treatment products);
-provision of credit facilities for the purchase of inputs;
-seed production;
-the dissemination of appropriate technology.

The purpose of these new structures is to train people in a manner appropriate to their own environment.


For centuries food production has been the responsibility of the women of Equatorial
-Gainea and they continue to play a decisive role in this area.

Most of the food produced assured the subsistence of the rural population, who did
not need to generate a surplus for sale. However, riid urbt*,Lizttiun and agricui.tura.L modernization, phenomena by no means unique to the western world, have weakened the ties between the woman producer and the consumer. People no longer feel the same concern for the importance of women's role in food production.

- 21

World food security must be assured by effective intergovernmental agreements. The Government of Equatorial Guinea has signed numerous accords and project agreements with various donor countries and organizations, which have furnished inputs only for coffee, cocoa, wood and other cash crops. Up to the present, no solution has been proposed to relieve the heavy burdens of women engaged in food production.

More than 50 percent of families live on food products grown on farms run by women using primitive technology. Women food producers should be granted rights ensuring adequate remuneration for their efforts and investments.

Their working day is usually not less than 16 hours long. The introduction of appropriate modern tools and machines could make women's tasks less arduous, increase food production and improve living conditions in the home.

Women's food production groups already exist in several areas.


Agriculture forms the backbone of the country's economy, accounting for 90 percent of exports and providing livelihood for 85 percent of the population. Climatic zones span the gamut from desert to temperate conditions. Agricultural production is concentrated in the highlands, and dominant crops include teff, wheat, barley, maize, sorghum, pulses and oilseeds. The lowlands are inhabited mainly by nomadic pastorilists - 53 percent of the total land area of 1.2 million km2 is permanent pasture. Livestock represents 20 percent of agricultural GDP.

Integration of women in development

Although rural women's contribution to agricultural production is substantial,
their opportunities to make a full contribution to development remain limited by social and cultural constraints and family responsibilities. The lack of sufficient services, resulting from their unequal distribution between rural and urban areas, has a disproportionate impact on rural women. They do not benefit from necessary inputs, including training, equipment and facilities. Thus, their economic participation continues to be restricted to petty domestic and traditional activities, and a significant portion of the country's useful work force --which could accelerate development - goes to waste.

To try to solve such problems, women are organized into associations. The Revolutionary Ethiopian Women's Association (REWA) has as its primary objective the consolidation of the struggle for women's emancipation, in order to increase their involvement in the political, economic and social development of the country.

The role of wo6an in agricultural production

Women constitute nearly 50 percent of the rural workforce. They are directly or indirectly involved in agricultural work, and their major activities focus on food production. Women weed, transport and store maize and share responsibility with men for preparing seedbeds, planting, transplanting, harvesting and marketing. As for raising vegetables, women perform all the tasks except for land preparation, seed selection and scaring off birds. In coffee production, both women and men are engaged in repelling birds and in picking, storing and processing the cash crop.

The Women's Affairs Division of the Ministry of Agriculture has established a structure which disseminates technical knov -how from the head office at national level to-, grass-roots bodies at the local-level. The division has set improving the living conditions of rural women as its primary objective and hence its programme aims to:

(1) Impart useful and practical information on basic needs, including food,
shelter and clothing;
(2) Improve the rural household's ability to manage and use human and non-human
(3) Assist families in making rational decisions for allocating resources in
accordance with needs.

- 22 -

The Women's Affairs Division takes measures to expedite the establishment of support services and facilities which assist women in saving energy and time that can be used for food production.

' Primary emphasis should be placed on reducing household drudgery. Moreover, women should be provided with agricultural training, as well as the necessary implements and inputs, in order to produce more efficiently and be remunerated accordingly.


Division of labour by se

Women manage 30 percent of all cultivated land in the Gambia, perform 60 percent of all agricultural labour with their children, and produce 40 percent of total agricultural output. Women are responsible for all aspects of production, processing and marketing of rained and tidal swamp rice, one of the staple foodcrops. They also produce, process and market all vegetables and poultry production, as well as 15 percent of total groundnut production, 5 percent of irrigated rice output, and 10 percent of all cotton produced.

Women own their crops, decide what to plant, pay for all inputs and services, including land clearing, dispose of production as they see fit and control the income from its sale. They also provide some of the labour for men's crops, chiefly weeding and transplanting irrigated rice and harvesting cotton. They process all grains (including maize, sorghum and millet, the other staples) and process and market fish (which men catch).

Agencies which deliver services to women

The 27-member National Women's Council and its bureau is the main national structure for advising the Government on the effective training, mobilization and integration of women. The bureau serves as the council's secretariat and helps to implement its recommendations in the fields of research, training and service delivery. The Gambia women's machinery has a significant role to play in coordinating assistance prog -ammes sponsored by the various ministries.

The Cooperative Marketing and Education Programme offers credit and marketing assistance to its female member s. The Agricultural Bank and other commercial banks give manageable sums of credit to a few selected women. The Department of Community Development organizes women into production and marketing groups for handicrafts, the sale of which is promoted by the Department of Tourism and Trade.

Given that women are the major producers of food crops, the effectiveness of agricultural extension services and the role of women in these agencies are essential to increasing foodorop production and productivity. While heavily staffed, the services remain male-dominated. In order to overcome this problem, Government staff must change their attitudes; female agricultural assistants must be given the courage and confidence to work as professionals, not only as "women agents". Female extensionists should form a large part of the services and play an active role at both field and supervisory levels. They should design, develop and administer specific production, processing and preservation activities, in close collaboration with*other agencies. The services intend to retrain existing staff and upgrade their skills.

Government policy recommendations

(1) Fair access for smallholders, the'majority of whom are women, to the infrastructure and services required for increased grain production, for consumption and
for sale;
(2) Cereals research focused on developing varieties that are palatable and resistant to drought, pests and disease;
(3) Encouraging more female farmers to grow rained and pump-irrigated millet and
(4) Intensified maize production emphasizing increased yields;

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(5) Gradual replacement of upland rained rice, which is extremely labour-intensive
and seriously affected by persistent drought, by mechanized irrigated rice, to
reduce women's labour and increase production;
(6) Involving women farmers in the design and monitoring of large-scale Governmentsponsored agricultural mechanization projects to ensure equitable distribution
of rehabilitated land;
(7) Proper animal nutrition for more efficient animal traction (women's main-souroe
of mechanical labour);
(8) Cereal banks stocked with sufficient grain reserves for food security;
(9) Expansion of mixed farming through training women in animal husbandry and
helping them to form livestock societies (for improved access to credit and
(10) Upgrading causeways and introducing donkey carts in swamp rice areas to reduce
women's burdens and post harvest losses;
(11) Easily accessible threshers, grain mills and hullers to lessen food-prooeshing
labour and post-harvest losses;
(12) Special agricultural credit allocated solely to women, with collateral requirements appropriate to their situAtion.


Guinean women, like their counterparts in other African countries, play an important but often ignored role in the national economy. They produce most food for family consumption, rear and educate their children and look after the household.

In addition to these domestic obligations, women participate in the various phases of agricultural labour. They cultivate the kitchen garden and horticultural crops', which they control and sell to generate independent income. They are responsible for all postharvest processing operations. For all this domestic and agricultural labour, women have only traditional rudimentary implements.

Guinean women undeniably play an important role in the country's economy, but their economic progress is limited by a number of factors:

Economic factors As women have scarce resources, the scope of their activities is
restrained. Their earnings contribute to the family budget.

The sexual division of labour constrains women's ability to participate in the
economy beyond the household. (Women manage the domestic economy and handle the
expenses involved, whereas men have contact with the outside world).

The lack of development of productive resources prevents rural women from using
intensively the little time available to them.

Men are always the focus of development projects, as the prospects for integrating
women are limited.

The Ministry of Social Affairs must direct a large part of its efforts to rural
women in order to facilitate the integration of women into national economic development operations.


Guinea-Bissau has a population of 800 000 (51 percent of them women) and a land area of 36 125 Km2. The economy, based on nascent agriculture and limited productive forces, is barely developed.

Women play a threefold role as mothers, combatants and development workers. They participate actively in all the politico-administrative organizations created in the liberated areas and keep pace with men in the revolutionary process. They are engaged in the defence, health, justice, and education sectors as well as in leadership training.

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Agriculture, still rudimentary in Guinea-Bissau, is not only the economic foundation but also the very essence of the economy; the country's economic and social pro.-ress depends mainly upon it. Agriculture (including livestock) accounts for 45 percent of the GNP, which averages US $170 per person.

The great majority of the population (more than 80 percent) live in rural areas,
where they are engaged in two types of farming - subsistence (wherein small farmers consume their own produce) and commercial (production for urban consumption and for export).

Farm women produce, harvest, process, transport and sell agricultural products. In some areas, they account for 70 percent of the output of the subsistence economy. Rural women are considered total economic agents because their activities comprise crop production, animal husbandry, fisheries, handicrafts, processing and marketing.

In order to improve national food security, it is important to boost grain production, especially the output of rice, a staple food. Women are very active in this production and have an important role to play. In some areas, they grow rice and millet while men cultivate groundnuts and raise livestock. However, drought and uneven rainfall significantly hamper all efforts to improve grain production.


The 1981-1985 Five-Year Economic, Social and Cultural Dovelopment Plan of Ivory
Coast simplicity acknowledges that Ivorian women, despite remarkable possibilities, participate too little in the national development process. The importance of women's many activities in production is well known, but their contribution often escapes planners, who do not take into consideration their real and potential roles.

Such inadequate appreciation of women's work stems from the social division of labour and land. The differing needs of men and women account for their respective specialization in cash and subsistence crops; the agriculture carried on by men produces money, and the other practised by women feeds the family but is non-commercial. To make up for this, women process farm produce and sell these products whenever they can. Agricultural activities by women have never been accurately gauged, because they vary by region, ethnic group, social class, farm size and cropping system. it 'is necessary to revalue the work of women, who play a decisive role in the vital food-production sector, so that Ivory Coast can be self-sufficient.

To integrate women into the rural economic system, the Ministry for the Status of Women and other agencies have taken short-term and long-term measures on horticulture, crafts, appropriate technology, information and training, and cooperative organizations.

These measures constitute part of the overall development strategy, which is spearheaded by rural development policy. The major obstacles in the agricultural economy call for two principal counter-measures: I

- People should be encouraged to remain in their native regions in order to counteract the imbalances due to migration and urbanization.
- Efforts should be made to diminish outside influences so that the nation.can avoid
losing its power of deoision-making.

Four priority objectives must therefore be kept in mind:

- organizing rural areas;
- creating local committees to let people participate in the decisions affecting
- improving economic and social security;
- modernizing agriculture.

These general targets for rural development are complemented by more specific measures for women. Studies have been undertaken since 1979 to ascertain their living and working conditions. As a result, the 1981-1985 Plan includes a series of objectives, especially the following:

- 25 -

- establishing legal equality;
- developing education and training;
- facilitating access to employment, enabling women to become entrepreneurs.

Concrete decisions thus have been taken to ensure women's integration into all
political, administrative, public and parapublio structures. However, much remains to be done so that women can actively take part in the country's political and economic life.


Women constitute the majority of the rural population. Women participate in all production and marketing activities for cash crops, food crops, and animal husbandry. They are also involved in making decisions related to agricultural production, although the majority have little or no say in the way in which cash accrued is distributed to meet the family's needs. Furthermore, most women have no access to credit facilities. Women's education, in both the formal and informal sectors, has improved greatly since independence, although it has not caught up with that of men. .

There is a strong network of women's groups, which is now recognized as an effeotive system for channelling development efforts. The Government has supported women's groups by establishing the Women's Bureau in 1976 to deal with the involvement of women in the development process.

Realizing women's need for agricultural and business credit, the Government and nongovernmental agencies have made several attempts to respond to this problem:

- The Cooperative Aot is currently being revisecl to allow women to participate
fully and to benefit from credit facilities offered by growerT.1 cooperative
- Savings and credit societies are being introduced;
- The Kenya Women's Finance Trust has been established to guarantee women's bank

To support and integrate women in food production and food security, the following policies and programmes have been formulated and are being implemented:

- National food policy;
- Emphasis on food crops to ensure food security at the household level; - Research on intensive food-production techniques for increased yields;
- Development of drought-resistant crops;
- Programmes supporting women's food production activities, involving joint action
by national, international and bilateral agencies;
- Improving extension services to reach women actually involved in production;
- Training more women in agriculture.

Much appropriate technology has been developed to reduce women's burdens; however, for one reason or another, little has reached the target groups and been adopted.


(1) More effort should be devoted to researching the economics, agronomy, nutritive
content, and strategies for promoting the consumption of local foods, which are
easy to grow and drought-resistant;
(2) Preservation and storage of foods should be increased;
(3) Men as well as women should be instructed in the nutritional requirements of all
family members;
(4) Donor agencies should analyse fully the role which different members of the
community play in food production and respond to the needs identified;
(5) Women must be involved in all stages of project development and implementation,
so that those complex issues specific to women can be addressed from the beginning;
(6) Women should participate in the design of technologies intended to assist them;

- 26 -

(7) Women's projects should be subject to cost-benefit analysis before implementation
to indicate their economic viability;
(8) There is a great need to make rural women aware of their own capabilities and to
train them in project and financial management;
(9) Banks should review their lending policies, with a view to relaxing those restraints which make it difficult for women to receive loans.


Agricultural production in Lesotho has experienced a sharp decline during the past
100 years. The country is now an-impoverished labour reserve for the South African mines. It is estimated that by 1985 the labour force will total 789 000 (388 000 men and 410 000 omen). I

Food security strategies to promote food self-sufficiency include the following:

(1) Improving the efficiency of food self-sufficiency programmes by (a) reducing
production costs to break-even levels; (b) establishing farmers' associations;

and (c) adopting cropping programmes to local resources;
(2) Improving the availability of credit;
(3) Redefining priorities so as to upgrade and strengthen extension services through
(a) training, and (b) establishment of communication networks;
(4) Improving transport and storage facilities;
(5) Developing water resources and promoting local production of agricultural
(6) Reducing dependency on South Africa for import and export markets.

Lesotho is heavily dependent on food imports, due to erratic climatic conditions, overoultivation, erosion and limited arable land.

Women play a major role in food production (providing 72 percent of the labour), particularly in the case of households with migrants, where they are farm managers. Even operations performed by men are generally organized by women: the hiring of labour (e.g. for ploughing), and the sharing of the harvest. Weeding, hoeing and pest control are women's tasks. Ploughing, planting transporting and storing food are men's tasks, and marketing is either a shared responsibility or that of men.


In spite of past development efforts, most of Liberia's farm households remain at or near the subsistence level. Deficits persist in the production of rice, the major staple food,. as do constraints to increased production.

Among the four farming systems - confessional farming, state-owned corporations,
Liberian-owned commercial farms, and subsistence or traditional farms - it is only in the last category that significant food production occurs. In this sector, women contribute 56 percent of the pre-harvest labour and over 90 percent of the post-harvest labour required for rice production. Secondary crops such as cassava, eddoes, sweet potatoes and groundnuts are cultivated almost exclusively'by women. In addition, women smoke, dry and market fish; market small animals; and perform their household tasks.

The local food index, reflecting per caput consumption of rice, shows significant fluctuations. Although there has been a steady increase in the production of rice over the past three years, the per caput consumption has not increased accordingly. In fact, it decreased from 125 kg per caput in 1981 to 120 kg in 1982.

Internal factors contributing to the situation include unfavourable climatic conditions, the gap between supply and demand, the high rate of population growth (3 percent per annum), urbanization and resultant farm labour shortages, inadequate storage facilities, and price fluctuations. External factors comprise lack of foreign exchange, inter-

- 27 -

national price movements, and limited availability of necessary food items in global markets.

Women extension agents and researchers are now being trained and integrated into all areas of agricultural development. The failure to recognize women's role in food production, however, remains a bottleneck in pursuing strategies to achieve food security. Following the line of the Lagos Plan of Action, it is recommended that the Government of Liberia carry out the following:

- Create a women's unit in the Ministry of Planning;
- Undertake an in-depth study of the role of women in food production and of the
training required to improve women's participation;
- Make provisions for women's participation in agricultural corporations and
- Gear technical training programmes toward women's needs;
- Improve price incentives and marketing facilities.


Women's role in agricultural production has been different ways, depending on the civilization concerned. From available studies, one can deduce that work requiring great physical strength has been reserved for men (ploughing, harrowing, leveling, breaking up clods, cutting and threshing). Women are engaged in other work, such as rice growing, small animal husbandry and cultivating food crops.

In 1964, agricultural extension work for women was focused on improving the family budget by popularizing kitchen gardens and small livestock. This was soon abandoned. The Government's present strategy is all-out production to achieve food self-sufficiency and produce a marketable surplus. This calls for effective utilization of the existing labour force. It goes without saying that such a programme cannot omit the work of women, whose participation - already considerable - can be intensified.

Agriculture in our country employs nearly 85 percent of the population and represents 40 percent of GDP; 80 percent of our export revenue stems from agriculture. In the past few years, production has increased slightly (0.6 percent), whereas population has grown by 2.6 percent.

Faced with this situation, the Government has launched a rational and operational agricultural policy based above all on small farmers. Its purposes are as follows:

- To strengthen extension services, the research network, and small-farm credit;
- To establish a network of seed centres;
- To advance animal health protection;
- To improve carp productivity to provide alevins (fingerlings) for fisheries and
for integrated rice-cum-fish production;
- To further reforestation and extension work among charcoal-burners in various
regions of the country, as well as to increase the production of wood as an
energy resource.

This strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Expansion is based on the equality of all citizens and on their effective participation.

Efforts to stimulate awareness of women's role, now being carried on by women's
organizations and through the mass media, must be continued and supported, so that women can realize the important role they have to play in national economic development.

Extension work for women has been assigned to three state agencies:

- The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Expansion;
- The Ministry of Health;
- The Rural Promotion Service.

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As Malawi has no mineral resources, food production remains the major concern.
Agriculture is a way of life for everyone, a joint male-female effort. In some areas, women who live by themselves or whose husbands engage in other economic activities farm alone.

The role of women in food production

Malawian women play a dual role, as homemakers as well as farmers. No single operation is considered specific to males; women take part in all activities from decisionmaking to marketing. Women make decisions (on land use, crops grown, inputs utilized and resources spent) alone or with t eir husbands. Their role as producers involves preparing the soil, choosing seed, planting, weeding, storing, and marketing the surplus. Women are also engaged introducing cash crops of major importance to the formal economy, such as cotton, tobacco, cattle and poultry. In addition, they feed the family.

Constraints on women's performance

(1) There are insufficient data on women farmers for use by planners;
(2) Female-headed households, which have now increased to 28 percent of all farming
families, suffer from capital and labour shortages;
(3) many women farmers are neglected by extension and credit staff, who concentrate
on their husbands;
(4) There are very few female extension agents, and husbands are often unwilling to
allow their wives to work with male extensionists;
(5) Not all women can attend training centres or group meetings, thus many remain
unreached by extension agents.

The Women's Programme Sp-otion

The Ministry ofAgriculture's general policy is to ensure that women are fully
integrated into agricultural activities, both subsistence and cash-orop farming. To promote women's dual role, the Department of Agriculture in 1981 created the Women's Programme Section which irresponsible for all women's activities (with special emphasis on their role as producers). Previously there was no extension system to exploit women farmers' capabilities; the network was biased toward males.

In order to ensure that the food produced is used with maximum nutritional benefit, women are taught both agriculture and home economics, with an emphasis on their interrelationship. Women farmers are trained in improved agricultural practices at training centres or through farmers' groups in their own villages. Women's groups engage in handicrafts, baking and other income-generating activities in order to buy agricultural inputs.
.These organizations also serve as a channel for extending credit, as credit is provided to women mainly as members of a group. All members can take out loans, regardless of sex or marital status. This greatly benefits households headed by women, who would otherwise suffer a major drop in farming productivity. Credit packages issued include fertilizer, seeds and other inputs. Women farmers have a better loan repayment record than do men.

The Women's Programme Section has proposed that whenever farmers are recruited for training, at least 30 percent should be women.

Food security

To provide for food security in time of drought and other calamities which curtail
maize production, women farmers are advised to grow a variety of foods, including droughtresistant crops such as millet and cassava, and to keep stocks of staple grains, groundnuts and pulses. They are encouraged to raise fruit, vegetables, legumes, pulses and livestock in addition to staples (maize, rice, cassava, potatoes, millet or bananas, depending upon the aree). Emphasis is also placed on income-generating activities, so that women can retain sufficient food for their own families.

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Other sections of the Ministry of Agriculture are working to increase women's participation in dairy farming, stall feeding and poultry keeping.


Malian agriculture, like that of the other Sahelian countries has been significantly affected in the past decade by drought and other factors beyond the Government's control. The food deficit has resulted in a worsening of the population's nutritional state, which necessitates food imports.

In view of this situation, numerous programmes have been designed and carried out by the Government. These include the drafting in 1982 of a food strategy, with the fundamental objectives of food self-sufficiency and maintenance of an appropriate nutritional level.

In order to realize these objectives, women (especially those in rural areas) must be fully integrated into the economic and s6cial development process. Women account for more than 50 percent of the population and play an important role on the food front. They work in the family fields. They grow okra, millet, rice and other crops on individual plots. Small livestock milk and dairy products and fish are also their responsibility, as well as all other food processing and the marketing of their output.

But women face many constraints in fulfilling their heavj obligations, such as*the burden of household chores, constraints on agricultural production, health problems, processing difficulties (some high-yielding and fast-growing plant varieties have not been adopted widely because of processing problems), and their husbands' reluctance to let them engage in activities that would enable them to acquire additional knowledge.

The Government is undertaking specific efforts to help women improve their working and living conditions. Among the measures for promoting them may be noted "women's action" components in some rural development projects as well as "women's promotion" units in the National Cooperation Department and the National Department for Functional Literacy and Language Instruction.

However, the situation of women still causes concern, for the following reasons:

- Large projects generally h&ve no special programmes directed to women1p specific
- Numerous women's promotion programmes are poorly executed, due to lack of human,
financial and material resources. Besides, they are not always designedrealistically, with a view to women's real and urgent requirements;
- Extension workers in many areas ignore women's small-scale cultivation and livestock activities. In a few cases, women receive seed And fertilizer if their
husbands agree to guarantee repayment.

Some of rural women's constraints could be eliminated by helping them to find the means to relieve the burdens of domestic and food-processing ch 6res. An effective preventive health policy, systematic extension work among rural women agricultural producers, education, and rural promotion activities for men and women are indispensable.


The women in Mauritania's agricultural regions have always had an important role in agricultural production. Today, with men's migration, women and children have become the primary agricultural labour resource. Women have simultaneous responsibilities for harvesting, storage, food preparation and child care. Therefore, one cannot neglect their expanding role in food production and thus in family food security.

It must be pointed out that it is difficult to generalize. Mauritania is, in fact, a heterogeneous country. The physical environment varies greatly, from desert to the Senegal River Valley. There are numerous ethnic groups, both nomadic and sedentary.

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Moreover, there is a clear distinction between pastoralists and fai'mers. At least three major categories may be distinguished: nomadic Moors, sedentary Haratins and the Negroes of the Senegal River Valley.

Ag ricultural development was long a male domain. The fact that the lag in integrating women into agriculture has been recognized can have only beneficial effects. Women working in the fields with their husbands are farmers and logically cannot be excluded from agricultural development.

Virtually permanent drought forces men to emigrate, reduces yields and increases the workload of women. The exacerbation of the drought has moved women from their traditional roles towards greater participation in faring and qualitative improvements in nutrition.

In the past, tradition dictated that Moorish women be conditioned from an early age for a life of inactivity. Today, the Moors' economic situation in general and the settlement process force many women to work actively in agriculture. All other women - Haratin, Wolof, Toucouleur and Soninkd - are faced with increasing responsibilities.

While it is too early to say that agriculture is becoming "feminized," the latest development and extension projects do take women into consideration. In the Cuidimaka area, the War on Want Project was designed to set up village associations for disseminating simple lessons. All inhabitants - men, women and children - belong to the associations and take part in discussion gropips. Cultivation of horticultural crops has made great strides, thanks to the communal gardens of women who have proved to be highly motivated. The Research and Implementation Group for Rural Development in the Third World has introduced some improvements in horticultural techniques in the Karakoro River Valley. Caritas projects in the Gorgol area and aid by the Red Crescent to women follow the same lines - providing seeds and assigning extension workers. In general, the women show a keen interest.


Niger, a landlocked country, has an unevenly distributed population and an economy based mainly on farming and animal husbandry. These two activities should ensure both food selfsufficiency and full employment of the young. Women, indispensable in ag-ricultural production, have little say in decision-making (although matriarchy persists in nomadic culture).

Niger's estimated population in 1977 was 5 098 427 - 2 583 895 women and 2 514 532 men. The rural population was put at 4 496 468. As women account for more than half of the population, it may be said that our country could not develop without their participation.

Women's role in food production and food security

For a long time, women's main sphere of activity has been within the family, the economic unit of production and consumption. The last great drought of 1966 emphasized the role played by women in food production. Concrete examples from Naradi and Doutcha reireal this important role. In Naradi, production by women represents:

35 percent of total millet production
28 percent of total sorghum production
42 percent of total groundnut production
42 percent of total cowpea production.

In Doutoha, surveys have shown that A woman produces, on average, 88 to 110 kg of fonic (a small millet) and 120 to 230 kg of millet.

Women work from 5 a-m. to 11 p.m. Apart from grain, they also grow vegetables such as okra, sorrel and onions. In the family fields as well as on their own land, women sow, thin, maintain the crop and harvest it (especially cowpeas and groundouts)? while men clear the land and burn off unwanted vegetation.

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Nearly all rural women raise livestock, which is an important factor in the family economy. A survey in Naradi shows that women possess 58 percent of all goats (75 percent of all she-goats), 34 percent of all sheep and 21 percent of all cattle.

In addition to their farm work, women have to look after the family and rear their children. They supply the family with water and gather and carry firewood. Though men generally look after storage, women perform all grain-prooessing operations (husking, shelling and winnowing). They do all this with primitive equipment.

Women traditionally are engaCed in all phases of marketing, except for large and small ruminants. Yet at the community management level, the village mutual-aid groups deal only with men.

In Niger the food-security problem is closely bound up with that of food selfsufficiency. Its solution involves improving the condition of women producers - Bu this strategy collides with obstacles inherent-in the design of development projects; thus women's traditional isolation and dependence on men are strengthened.

It is therefore necessary to train women and provide them with technical know7how
order to diversify and improve their production. Women should now benefit from the status of farmers in irrigated agricultural development areas.


In recent years, governments have become increasingly appreciative of the important productive role which rural women have fulfilled throughout history, day and night, in peace and in war. It is gratifying that governments and the international community are now prepared to come to their rescue.

Nigerian rural women play an important role in production, processing and preparation of food to provide for their families. Alone or with the help of men, they work the farms. In some areas, women have their own plots and storage facilities. They also contribute labour and produce to the community as a whole. Livestock is kept by most families for home use and sale; they are invariably tended by the women. Women also transport produce to market and take care of the future leaders of the country, one of their most important tasks.

All-round centres for women should be established incorporating:

(1 Education;
(2 Agricultural and veterinary inputs and training;
(3) Improved access to Government grants and loans;
(4) Facilities for exchanging experiences with women farmers in other regions;
(5) Child care.

One or more centres could be established in each district,.depending on population size and on decisions made by the community and district leaders. These oentres would provide direct links to each home and farm.

The importance of education cannot be overemphasized. It helps rural women to look beyond the immediate results of their daily work and see the broader context of their contribution to national development. Education will help rural women to develop pride in their work and will facilitate their obtaining Government assistance?* which is their right as citizens. Women would also be made aware of their opportunities to engage in other activities, such as owning.shops.

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It is high time to combat prejudices which penalize women, especially African women. The tendency in Africa is to regard woman as inferior to man, whereas it is she who is responsible for the family's food supply, working in the fields (ploughing, sowing, weeding, harvesting and storing the crop) and in the kitchen. In many African countries, women are responsible for marketing agricultural products, thereby contributing to interregional trade and bringing families into the market economy (agricultural production accounts for the bulk of family income). Even so, very few studies have been made on this contribution to development.

Efforts to promote the role of women should be strengthened, particularly with
training and employment programmes. The social differences between men and women must be eliminated so that women's real value can be acknowledged.

Women make UP 51-5 percent of Rwanda's total population; 23 percent of them are
under 15 years of age and about 3.4 percent are more than 55 years old. Women bear great responsibilities in food production. They are engaged mainly in food-crop cultivation for which men's contribution is limited to clearing land - where it is still forested and, to a lesser extent, to ploughing.

In general, men look after cash crops (coffee, tea, tobacco, bananas) which they plant, maintain and harvest. Men also work as farmhands for landholders who need manpower to till their fields. Men deal almost entirely with livestock (as keepers and traders), except for cleaning the barns, which is done by women and children.

In addition to their role in agricultural production women play an important role
in food marketing. They sell farm produce in the markets (beans, cassava, sweet potatoes), sorghum) and buy what is needed to feed the family. The money earned from the sale of such produce is used for the whole family, not for women alone.

In the national food strategy aimed at intensifying agricultural production, women have a preponderant role because they are the principal workers in farming; they use the recommended inputs (fertilizer, improved seed, appropriate cropping techniques and farm credit).

Now that Rwandese women have the same rights as men, the Government has launched
several training programmes to enable them to participate more effectively in agricultural development. The first class of a school for training women agricultural technicians graduated in 1984. There are several female agricultural engineers. Massive training programmes which give priority to agricultural courses are under way throughout the country in community centres for development and training. Those rural development projects which provide credit furnish it to men and women on equal terms.

In spite of what has been done thus far, however, we are still far from equalizing men's and women's agricultural labour. Farm work is still more arduous for women than it is for men. Social education therefore should also be addressed to men. They can give more help to their companions, enabling them to pay for the inputs needed to intensify their production. More women should take part in f ' formulating and executing national agricultural policy. Far-reaching training programmes for women should be drawn up in close collaboration with female extension workers and women farmers.


Senegal, a coastal as well as a Sahelian country, occupies an area of 196 722 km2
with an estimated total population of 5 660 732. Population density is 28.7 per km2, nd 70 percent of the people live in rural areas. Senegal is endowed with mineral resources (phosphates, limestone, ilmenite, zircon and sea-salt).

Generally speaking, food-orop and livestock production declined progressively between 1970 and 1983 because of adverse climate and rainfall - except in maize and fisheries production, which continue to expand.

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To deal with this situation, the Government has established a food selfsufficiency strategy, which comprises the following:

- watershed management;
- extension of rainfed crops;
- organization of marketing policies to encourage farmers;
- small-soale as well as industrial processing;
- distribution and promotion of new local products;
- consumption programmes;
- organization of technical training for the rural population;
- education and training of agricultural extension staff.

Agriculture is still the major activity of women in Senegal. They also sell fruit and other agricultural products to generate income, as well as engaging in animal husbandry. However, the problem remains that economic development projects are usually based on cash crops - to the detriment of food crops, which are primarily women's domain.

In view of the above, the Second Economic and Social Development Plan for 1981 1985 has paid special attention to women's affairs, creating a structure to implement Government policy on the promotion of women. A Plan of Aortion-for Senegalese Women has been prepared in this context, attaching crucial importance to lightening the burden of women's work and to providing training in food production.

REPUBLIC OF, SIERRA LE017The Government of Sierra Leone is making strenuous efforts to plan and implement
programmes to identify, quantify and qualify the economic and social contribution of disadvantaged groups such as women and children in the production, availability and accessibility of food. Programmes have been designed to promote food selfreliance, with emphasis on rice, the major staple, and on secondary crops such as cassava, potatoes, groundnuts, cowpeas and vegetables.

Food strategies include:

- intensifying farm mechanization;
- introducing irrigation and drainage systems;
- reviewing marketing and price policies;
- strengthening extension services and applied research;
- increasing credit availability;
- encouraging rational use and application of fertilizer;
- establishing agro-industries;
- introducing crop-protection measures;
- reducing post-harvest food losses.

These strategies are incorporated in an Integrated Agricultural Development
Approach, which provides rural farm families with technical expertise from the public and private sectors.

Through these strategies, support is given to farmers, particularly women, in the production, processing and preparation of food. Available data indicate that women contribute 90 percent of the labour for weeding, and 60 percent for harvesting, threshing and marketing of rice. For secondary crops (groundlnuts, maize and pulses), they contribute 30 percent of the total labour. They are also heavily involved in the cultivation of cash crops, assisting men in all phases of the production of coffee, which is occasionally interoropped with kola or cacao.

In fisheries, women control processing and mariceting, while men catch the fish and maintain the equipment.

The Government is implementing a project in collaboration with international organizations to encourage and support women's activities in nutrition, community development and rural development. An FAQ-assisted project which will promote integrated agricultural development for women through community action and people's participation is being

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prepared. An PAO-sponsored workshop on women and marketing will be held in Sierra Leone.

Urgent action is required, at both national and international levels, to quantify and qualify the involvement of women, not only for the formulation of appropriate policies, but also to identify and meet women's needs in training, extension, marketing and technology. National workshops and pilot projects, with the involvement of NGOs, could stimulate even greater returns from one of the country's vital resources.


An overwhelming majority of the population of the Sudan 85 percent - lives in
rural areas. Although energy intake falls short of the requirements in some cases, the nixtional per caput food availability, in terms of protein and other nutrients, has been satisfactory.

In the traditional sector, women play a major role in agricultural production. They contribute 60 percent or more of the labour and devote twice as much time as men to food production activities. In the modern sector, especially on the large irrigation schemes in northern and central Sudan, women's contribution to agricultural production remains limited. Women work during peak seasons and wives of immigrantsare hired to pick cotton.

Traditional food preservation and processing techniques are usually simple, cheap
and heavily dependent on natural and environmental conditions. One of the major problems is post-harvest grain loss, due to inadequate storage facilities.

A wide variety of pulses, oilseeds, dairy products, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables complements the staple foods, primarily millet and sorghum. Traditional methods of preservation and processing include sun-drying pulses and fish, salting, and producing dairy products (butter, ghee, cheese and yogurt).

Imported food-processing technology has resulted in a number of problems, such as
dependence on expensive imported foods, underutilization of indigenous foods, poor nutrition, changes in family spending patterns, and rural-urban migration. Traditional methods, however, must be made less vulnerable to environmental and natural conditions. The Food Research Institute is investigating ways of improving traditional technology and introducing simple new techniques. These include, for example, new milling techniques for sorghum and comparison of the suitability of different dehullers for village use.

One of the efforts to improve women's roles in agriculture is an FAO-assisted project which trains women in new food production techniques, introduces new foods, and provides extension and child-care services to women farmers.

Other suggested measures are:

- Increasing land productivity through improved extension services and better
access to inputs;
- Establishing modern agricultural schemes and cooperatives;
- Evaluating women's-role in food production;
- Developing modern rural technology and cottage industries;
- Identifying priority needs for imported and improved technology.

Government policies emphasize upgrading the rural environment to arrest migration to the cities, facilitating people's participation in development, improving social and economic security, raising productivity and reducing the drudgery of women's labour. Policy objectives that relate directly to women include legal equality, education and training, and access to employment.

. Although decisions have been made to ensure the integration of women in all political and administrative structures, much remains to be done to enable women to participate actively in the political and economic development of the country.

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Swaziland is essentially an agricultural country, with 90 percent of her people involved in agriculture (half are women practising subsistence agriculture on Swazi national land). Swazi women are primarily responsible for homestead-based agriculture, increasingly so as men migrate to urban areas for wage employment. Women represent the most disadvantaged sector of the population - 22 percent of homesteads are headed by women and tend to be poorer than male-headed homesteads.

Women perform approximately 70 percent of all farm work, including ploughing, planting, weeding, showing, harvesting, processing and preparing food for family consumption. While women and children have always provided most of the agricultural labour,,male migration has altered the traditional division of labour. Women must now clear land and prepare it for cultivation, either by themselves or by hiring ox-drawn ploughs or tractors.

Despite the predominance of women farmers, a variety of social and economic factors has precluded their successful participation in most conventional economic development strategies:

(1) As more than 85 percent of agricultural extension agents are male (and visits
by male strangers to women in the absence of the man of the homestead are considered inappropriate), men have received a disproportionate amount of
assistance, leaving women to rely on traditional and less productive techniques;
(2) Women farmers have considerably less access to cash than do men, and are consequently less able to purchase agricultural inputs or hire equipment and labour;
(3) As men control ownership and allocation of the cattle which serve as collateral
for loans, women cannot obtain capital to expand production without male sponsorship;
(4)'While men may recruit all available homestead labour for agriculture, women
farmers must rely on their own resources and those of their children;
(5) Agricultural development policies and programmes have essentially been
designed to augment men's participation in agricultural production while
decreasing their reliance on wage employment.

However, women farmers possess assets enabling them to succeed as farmers and to participate effectively in appropriately designed development schemes:

(1) Women frequently perform arduous and time-consuming farming tasks collectively
for exchange of labour or payment in kind; these units could be utilized effectively for agricultural extension;
(2) 1,1omen play a significant role in homestead agricultural decision-making, even
where men are full-time farmers. The migration of males for wage employment
has increased women's control in this sphere;
(3) Recent studies suggest that women are extremely interested in acquiring modern
agricultural technology and in entering the commercial farming sector;
(4) Research on African women farmers shows that they are at least as productive
as males when they receive proper training and support.

However, successful economic development requires a considerable change in current agricultural strategies, namely, the creation of programmes focused on women farmers' potential and constraints. Women in development projects, under the Community Development Section of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, impart training in skills for income-generating activities. One such effort is the PAO-assisted People's Participation Project (signed at the 13th PAO Regional Conference for Africa in Harare).

The goal of these and other agricultural development projects is to increase homestead food production and national agricultural output as well as to create alternative income sources outside the wage.-labour market, especially for women.

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Women constitute 70 percent of the agricultural labour force and are engaged in subsistence production. They produce, process, preserve, prepare and store the family food supply. Women support the ujamaa system because they are paid according to the amount of work done.

In the past, the tribal chief distributed land for production at the village level. The male members of the household decided what would be planted. However, *ith the establishment of the ujamaa system, women gained equal land-use right.

In the ujamaa villages, both women and men are visited by extension workers. However, there are few female extends ' ion workers, even though in some areas (for example, Lushoto district) most of the agricultural producers are women. Women producers cannot always follow the technical advice which they receive because of:

(1) lack of time to apply new techniques;
(2) lack of funds.

Research to date on appropriate technology has provided few benefits for women
farmers. Men have profited by many more innovations, which increase production with less effort.

Men are responsible for harvesting and marketing cash crops, leaving the harvesting and transportation of food crops to women and children. Women must also look after the storage and marketing of food crops, though men may help to build the structures for their storage. Women take care of small-scale animal production. They gather fodder, clean stables, milk cows, process milk and other animal products, and market their output.

Government agricultural policy aims-to develop an egalitarian and selfreliant agricultural community, which would result in a progressive rise in the standard of living and a change from traditional subsistence production to modern farming. Livestock policy seeks to increase both quantity and quality of output through:

- improved animal husbandry;
- selective breeding ;
- effective disease-oontrol programmes;
- rational market systems.

The national food strategy envisages:

- A nutritionally adequate diet for each Tanzanian by 1990;
- Food self-sufficiency at national, regional, district and village levels;
- An increased aggregate food supply, in order to satisfy the greater per Caput
consumption requirements of a growing population.

'The pricing mechanism - one of the incentives for farmers - offers premium prices
for crops, with advantages for the various ecological zones. In addition, the Government proposes to provide necessary material inputs (farm implements, fertilizer, improved seed, plant protection material) to villages, cooperatives and individual farmers through Farm Service Centres. This new programme should also increase women's participation in the credit market.


The development plan being implemented is a production plan, above all in the agricultural sector, which aims to:

achieve food self-sufficiency, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in order to
meet all national needs;
build up food reserves designed to safeguard the population against possible
create surpluses for industrial processing and for export.

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Women's role in production

About 70 percent of women are engaged in agricultural activities. In some regions, they are responsible for 40 percent of the ploughing, 80 percent of the sowing, 70 percent of the harvesting, 95 percent of traditional processing, and 90 percent of the sales, not to mention preservation and transportation. These figures show that women may be found at the basic levels of agricultural development, namely production, processing and marketing.

Existing structures to identify and meet women's needs

In 1977 a State Secretariat-for Social Affairs and the Status of Women was created. It includes a technical department, the General Department for Women's Affairs. This body is supervised by the National Union of Women of Togo (UNFT), whidh is responsible for defining policy guidelines for the promotion of women. All these structures are decentralized to improve the identification of needs and to adopt the best methods of satisfying them.

One of the problems identified is the inadequacy or total lack of training for women. The first development projects and programmes did not include any provision for organizing or training women. This gap was filled only in 1981.


There are at present two trends:

(1) A strategy for the integration of women's activities in agricultural development
projects and programmes (e.g. the North Togo development project, the Kant6 farm
project, and the food-crop project);
(2) A programme of women's production groups in rural areas. This programme, designed to form women's groups on the basis of the crops with which they are
specifically concerned, has already established 62 groups for vegetables,
legumes, maize, millet, sorghum, cassava and rice. Some groups are engaged in small-animal husbandry and fisheries. Assistance in smoking fish is provided
for others.


(1) A study should be made of women's contribution to food production and food
security, to highlight their role and to identify activities to undertake to
improve it;
(2) Women should be trained in techniques connected with their specific activities;
(3) Women should be assisted by improved technology.


Since its independence (20 March 1956), Tunisia has attached constant importance ta the agricultural sector. Various minis ries, agencies, FAO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP), Union Nationale des Femmes de Tunisie (UNFT) and groups have made efforts to point up the role of women in Agricultural production in general and in food production and food stocks in particular. At present, 84 percent of rural women work in the agricultural sector. They are engaged in all types of cultivation and animal husbandry.

The great school-enrolment effort over the*past 25 years has resulted in an inoreasel rate of women's participation in the job market, which rose from 5.5 percent in 1966 to more than 20.5 percent in 1980.

In some regions of Tunisia, 98 percent of the population live in rural areas; but participation in food production remains greatly limited by a shortage of water, electricity and development resources'. Women do the heaviest work in Tunisia. They labour in the fields and carry out the most arduous tasks. This situation has attracted the attention of the Government and of many agencies.

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Various projects attempt to promote the role of women in food production. For years, the Jendouba section of Union Nationale des Femmes de Tunisie (UNFT), with International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) aid, has operated a centre for women dealing with foodcrops. Another project for Promotion of Rural Women (an PAO/SIDA/UNFT project) in the Sidi Bouzid area is aimed at improving farming techniques, using wells more productively and improving irrigation systems. Another means to self-sufficiency for these women consists of distributing inputs to improve pastureland, carrying out livestock vaccination campaigns, and pi-oviding field training. This project complements the Sidi Bouzid soil protection and conservation project.

Despite such efforts, the state of rural areas gives cause for concern. Shortage
of fertilizer, improved seeds, water and equipment hamper the population's efforts. Thus many plans for rural development, food-crop production and animal husbandry await funding.


Women in Uganda still lead a hard life, fulfilling their traditional roles as well as attempting to participate in development. Despite efforts by the Government to Dromote full participation, women have not yet been fully integrated into the development process. Few hold decision-making positions.

The National Council of Women, an umbrella organization for all women's groups,
reviews Government policies on women and advises the Government. Discussions are under Kay on the formulation of a Women's Charter.

Few data are available on the role of women in agriculture. Most women live in rural areas. They contribute 60 to 80 percent of the labour involved in agriculture. Problems affecting women in agriculture include:

(1) Limited access to services. (Concentration on cash crops, combined with women's
lack of education, has resulted in the directing of most services to men and
the predominance of male extension agents);
(2) Legal discrimination. (Customary property rights, marriage laws, etc. tend to
limit women's legal status);
(3) Lack of recognition and self-confidence; (4) Limited marketing and credit facilities;
(5) Low levels of education and training.

The Government has now increased the allocation of resources to food production. A National Food Plan - a strategy for food production, marketing, processing and monitoring - is being developed. It is hoped that the plan and the agricultural projects which follow from it will reflect women's role and improve their participation and benefits.

Within the Ministry of Agriculture, a Home Economics section - limited by the shortage of qualified staff - attempts to reach rural women and facilitate their role in food production. Agricultural colleges and related institutions are now training women. Women's organizations have made women aware of new opportunities, and of their own potentials and talents. These have been translated into agricultural programmes and projects.

The role of women in agricultural production has not been sufficiently recognized, financially remunerated, or effectively integrated into agricultural policy and practice. Efforts to alleviate this situation in the nineteen sixties were interrupted in the next decade as a result of the political situation. Research activities, training in agriculture, and extension are critical to increase women's access to production resources, facilities and inputs, thus facilitating their role in food production and food security.

- 39 -


In Zaire, the department responsible for women's affairs has given priority to the living conditions of rural women. Statistics in 1983 showed that of the country's 29 038 849 inhabitants, 17 423 309 worked on the land, and 9 702 881 of them were women.

Women are responsible for 80 percent of food production in rural areas. Men usually do the heaviest work, e.g. clearing forests, felling treesand burning unwanted vegetation. Women are responsible for all the rest of the production chain (ploughing, sowing, weeding, harvesting, transportation and cooking). Women sell surplus produce to itinerant traders or on local markets and also look after poultry and small animals.

The women have little equipment to lighten their work. They go on foot, carry their burdens on their heads, use a hoe and a machete for tending the fields, and gather the harvest by hand. Moreover, the amount of land available is limited (one hectare per family) and they use few agricultural inputs.

All this results in fairly low production, enough to ensure the basic self-sufficiency of the rural population, but not enough to meet the country's need for staple food products. It is therefore necessary to import maize (200 000 t in 1981), rice (23 000 t in 1981) and potatoes (3 000 t in 1981).

It is essential to:

(1) Cultivate extensive areas and introduce intermediate technology suited to-local
conditions (maize sellers, rice and groundnut huskers, manual maize and cassava mills);
(2) Organize the marketing of agricultural products (creating local markets, providing transport and maintaining roads).

Some activities to promote women's role in agriculture are the following:

(1) The United Nations Children's Fund (MTICEF) Manenga project, for about 100
women, which is to provide material and technical support for increased
(2) A United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) project to create an appropriate
technology unit for lightening the burden of rural women's work;
(3) An FAO project for establishing an education programme for rural women in the
regions of Bandundu and1ower and Upper Zaire.


In the past, women dominated food production systems while men worked on cash crops. With the increase in economic value of food crops such as maize, men took over food produotion as well as cash crop production. Women worked as labourers for their*husbands' production.

Economic pressures during the early eighties (such as low prices for copper) have forced the Government to pay particular attention to maize production for local oonsumption. However, the extension services, although well organized and touching all the villages, have few women as extension workers. Therefore the education and training of rural women are often neglected.

The Zambian farmers suffer from: shortageof labour, lack of technical advice, lack of inputs, and no access to credit. Because of the labour shortage, the size of the average farm is one hectare. Certain approaches in the extension field have resulted in an increase in women's workload: e.g. increased land under cultivation involves more work for women. Lack of access to credit limits the area that a woman can farm. Women are often at a disadvantage in lending programmes.

Women should be considered as a target group for Government policy, so tht they may receive the same treatment as men in the food production cycle (e.g. model farmers, extension workers). Special consideration should be given to training female extension

- 40 -

workers in agriculture.

Appropriate research on tools and technologies, combined with these techniques, should do a lot to improve the production and working conditions of women. Because of the tendency for females to be heads of households, extension services should revise their approach in order to provide adequate services (inputs, credit and marketing) to this group of farmers.


The subordinate position women occupied in traditional society, legally, economically and socially, was reinforced during the colonial era. While men emigrated to work in plantations and mines, women were left as de facto heads of household without enjoying any new right to land ownership, and their workload increased as they assumed sole response -' ability for subsistence farming. Their productivity declined as they did not have access to inputs, new technologies, extension and other services, training, credit facilities or marketing facilities.

Only since independence has the government attempted to redress inequalities that exist between urban and rural communities, men and women, by encouraging communities to participate in the development of people-orientated projects.

A new institutional body has been created, the Ministry of Community Development and Women's Affairs, with the specific task ' of accelerating and improving the emancipation of women and the development of communities. In the area of agricultural production the Ministry encourages women to identify and undertake income-generating projects and the establishment of savings clubs.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture it promotes small-scale farming and provides technical services for rural communities. About 1 373 agricultural projects involving women have been given some form of assistance. Training has concentrated on proper production techniques, poultry keeping, the nutritional value of various types of foods produced, methods of conservation and pest control.

The Ministry of Land Resettlement and Rural Development, through its resettlement programme, is promoting opportunities to women in terms of land rights and is providing the necessary infrastructure to increase agricultural productivity.

Zimbabwe has therefore managed to involve women in food production and food security to a considerable extent, trying to meet their needs.

In the field of training, many women are now attending agricultural training institutes and will in the future be employed as extension workers and therefore be in a position to influence other women.

The policy of AGRITEX (the extension department of the Ministry of Agriculture) is that extension should be done through local groups. There are a great number of such clubs: group development areas, savings clubs, cooperatives, women's clubs - whose membership is mostly women.

As regards access to credit facilities.some private agencies have granted loans to women and available information indicates that such women farmers have improved their production visibly.

In dealing with these matters, however, one should not forget that women are part of a system in which men and children also have their roles and that overemphasizing the role of women in food production may have negative results.

The following recommendations are made:

(1) Women should have access to all means of production;
(2) Appropriate technologies and farming systems that are being formulated should
take into account theneeds of women:

- 41

(3) All extension services should involve women wh en formulating programme plans.
Donors should support programmes that emanate from the people rather than
impose projects on them.
(4) More posts are required to intensify services provided to the population. These
posts should as far as is possible be filled by women who graduate from agricultural institutes;
(5) Easier credit and marketing facilities should be provided.

- 42 -



The full text of t~ie consultation's recommendations i-as as follows.
The consultation, taking into account that:

(1) The Organization for African Unity (OAU) Lagos Plan of Action for Economic
Development of Africa (1980 to 2000) recognized "women as vital instruments
for solving the food crisis" and called for "deliberate provisions to upgrade
their skills and lessen their labour"l;
(2) The Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and
Rural Development (WCARRD) in July 1979 stated that bognisanoe of "the vital
role of women" in food production and food security is a "prerequisite for
successful rural development planning and programme implementation";
(3) The FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG), meeting in Rome in March 1983, adopted
a Plan of Action which gave strong support to rural women as food producers in
the short term and in the medium term;
(4) The 22nd FAO Conference in Rome in November 1983 commended the emphasis being
placed on women a agriculturalists, urged "direct access to land, training,
credit, marketing services and other income-earning activities" in order to assist rural women with their production responsibilities, and called for periodic
reports on progress in these areas to be discussed at reg-ional conferences and
included in the progress reports to the 1987 FAO Conference;

Noting the three aims of the revised concept of food security adopted by the FAO
Committee on World Food Security at its Eighth Session in April 1983 - increased production, stability of supplies and access to food, and the vital role of farm women in achieving these aims;

Expressing appreciation for the particular efforts made by the Director-General of FAO to bring the important role of women in agriculture and food security to the attention of the international community, and considering:

(a) The critical need t 'o improve the agricultural production capacity of small farmers,
of whom rural women constitute a large number;
(b) The extra responsibility of women farmers as wives and mothers, and the severe demands on their time and health if they are to fulfill their multiple roles
(c) The extent to which rural women farmers have been bypassed in the delivery of resources, inputs, and services, extension and training;
(d) The initiatives which rural women have taken through group action to try to obtain
more resources, increase production, and better their own and their families' lives;
(e) The interest and efforts of governments to develop and implement plans of action to
benefit rural women through establishing women's units and integrating their efforts
with the activities of line ministries;

Recommends to governments that, with regard to the following priorities, they:

1.* Rural women and food security

(i) Give new emphasis in policies, plans, research and action to food crops and to
women's related responsibilities, in order to increase the supply for food
(ii) Provide appropriate price incentives, transportation and marceting facilities
to encourage the production and commercialization of food crops;
(iii) Sponsor and carry cut research programmes on various aspects of food crops and
gathered foods to improve their production and use;
(iv) Promote drainage and irrigation programmes for production of food crops as well
as cash crops and make these available to women farmers as well as men;
(v) Make necessary provisions for the development of appropriate tools and technologies for women farmers' tasks and provide assistance to ensure the proper
management and maintenance of equipment;

- 43 -

(vi) Develop programmes for the preparation, processing, preservation, and local
storage of foods to help encourage greater food self-reliance and encourage related income-eariiing enterprises for women;
(vii) Establish equal pay for female and male agricultural workers and support education, practices and programmes which lead to women's receiving a direct return
on their labour;

2. Education, extension and training programmes

(i) Give greater consideration to the needs of rural women regarding the food
security policies enumerated above and take steps to develop appropriate and innovating approaches accordingly, earmarking and developing funds as needed;
(ii) Encourage decentralization, delivery of extension and training services so that
they will be available close to rural women's homes, promoting women's centres
where the need exists and providing integrated services through these,. including
day care facilities;
(iii) Focus on improving the efficiency of traditional activities by giving special
attention to the development and maintenance of labour-saving devices and the
training of women in their use;
(iv) Include men and women together in training and extension programmes wherever
feasible, with due regard to the different responsibilities each may have in
production and to cultural considerations; and also focus extra efforts on
integrated programmes for young people, who can overcome traditions which may
tend to segregate the sexes and discriminate against women;
(v) Provide farm women with training in literacy, farm management and accounting; (vi) Increase awareness at all levels of women's roles in food production, by mass
media, workshops, etc; and inform women themselves on progr ammes and institutions, including cooperatives, potentially available to them;
(- ii).Train more women in agriculture as well as home economics, train men in nutrition and family life, and encourage male and female agricultural extension agents and trainers to work with both men and women farmers in rural areas;
(viii) Train rural women in the processes of project identification, planning, preparation, monitoring and evaluation, and discovering the channels through which
their needs and priorities can attract national and international attention;
and consider liaison with NGOs as well as international agencies and donors in
the implementation of this recommendation;
(ix) Establish day care centres in rural areas, especially during periods of hard
and/or long field work, in order to prevent neglect of small children and to
ensure proper nutrition;

3- Attitudes

(i) Introduce wider conception of men's and women's roles into general education
and teacher training, making use of mass media if possible;
(ii) Support women's requests for increased assistance to them in their economic as
well as domestic roles, and therefore improve attitudes and practices affecting
women in the public sphere;
(iii) Seek out the opinion of' women's groups, and involve women at all decision-making
levels so that their views and ideas are better known and more effective;
(iv) Encourage and support change mentalities which assign strictly limited roles to men and women and which may otherwise limit their opportunities
against their wishes;

4. Access to land

(i) Respect women's needs for land as farmers and guard against deterioration of
existing land rights, while working to promote ownership and access;
(ii) Conduct studies on land tenure systems and the sociopolitical aspects of land
law in various African countries, with the participation of Centre on Integrated
Rural Development for Africa (CIRDAFRICA) and similar regional and subregional
(iii) Change existing laws and practices which may limit women's ownership and access
to land itself or to better quality land;

- 44 -

(iv) Establish programmes which make land available to women's groups for collective
production and for use as collateral for services and inputs whioh may otherwise
be denied to them;
(v) Provide women who have land as individuals or as groups with the services and
inputs needed to make the land productive, with special attention given to providing irrigation;,

5. Credit, marketing and price policies

(i) Provide credit directly to women as indivi duals and in groups for all steps in
the food cycle;
(ii) Change laws and policies which permit credit to men only;
(iii) Develop roads and transpbrtation from rural to urban areas, thereby opening
better markets for rural women's produce;
(iv) Promote food-crop production and food security by adopting appropriate price
policies and by making credit available for food-crop as well as cash-crop

6. Research

(i) Sponsor and/or carry cut studies and research that can lead to developments
which benefit rural women farmers and disseminate findings of existing applied
research to rural women;
(ii) Put a priority on in-depth analyses at country level of women's total involvement in food production and food security, so that relevant policies and
programmes can be based on accurate information covering women's and men's
roles in food as well as cash crops;
(iii) Include in national censuses as well as in other organized surveys the disaggregation of data by sex, with special emphasis on the role of women in
(iv) Give emphasis to research into traditional foods, on their production, processing, preservation, stora e, marketing, nutritional aspects, and modes of
use and promotion;
(v) Identify the services and interservice linkages needed for a pac.*age approach
to support women farmers responsible both for crop production and for heavy
domestic responsibilities;
(vi) Request fellowships for research workers, particularly women, in subjects related to the role of women in food production and food security;
(vii) Require that outside researchers leave copies of relevant data and reports in
the countries concerned;

7. Policy planning and resource allocation

(i) Reflect in government development plans the contribution which women farmers
make to development and the importance to food security of channelling more
assistance to them;
(ii) Allocate and develop funds specifically for women within any large integra ted
rural development or agricultural project; develop ways for these funds to be channelled directly to women's groups, not only through the existing technical
departments concerned;
(iii) Endeavour to sensitize the relevant ministries to the activities of rural women
and ensure liaison between women's associations and central planning authorities in monitoring and coordinating the development of projects under the
various ministries, in order to avoid duplication and to fill in the principal
(iv) Include more women at planning and decision-making levels in order to ensure
that all the above points are respected;
(v) Call for coordination among the various donors and agencies which support
women's programmes;
(vi) Involve NGOs in the identification, formulation and implementation of assistance
(vii) Develop pilot projects for women based on accurate assessment of their roles and
share results of these through subregional exchanges;

- 45 -

And further recommends to PAO and other agencies and donors, along with relevant NGOs, that they:

(1) Continue and strengthen their assistance to governments for the above-mentioned
activities for women farmers and for related efforts;
(2) Support follow-up activities in the Africa region related to the role of women in
rural development and food security;
(3) Devise new approaches and mobilize resources to support rural women in their role
and contribution to food security;
(4) Organize technical and planning meetings among the agencies and donors concerned
with rural women, in order to coordinate the assistance directed to them.

Appendix 5



Your cooperation is sought to make more visible the sometimes invisible oontributions of rural women to food production. As a result, more effective planning and action to assist women and families in food production could be stimulated.

Attached is a set of Country Fact Sheet forms designed to help achieve a summary of the division of labour by sex and by tasks associated with major food and cash crops, animal and fish production. Information related issues including decision-making, seasonal labour peaks and farm wage labour is also sought.

Answers for Country Fact Sheets are to be based on data available in the country and which may not be widely available. Sources should be recorded on the reverse . side of each sheet. Locating relevant studies that have been conducted will require searching in relevant Ministries e.g. of Planning, Agriculture, Rural Development as well as in University Faculties of Agriculture and in libraries and documentation centres. Data may also be available in various areas/regions of the country as well as at national level. If the situation permits data collection, this can, of course, be undertaken.

The search for data should not be limited to studies that focus on the role of
women since valuable information concerning the division of labour may be found also in studies on farm management, farming systems, migration and employment.

When completed, the Country Fact Sheets will provide factual information about the
activities for which rural women assume responsibility in agriculture and food production. Completed Country Fact Sheets are therefore potential aids for national and area specific programme and project planning and design. They will be useful also as training materials for workshops and seminars and as general reference material.

The areas where data are not available will provide direction for research that is needed at the country level.

Home Economics and Social Programmes Service Human Resources, Institutions and Agrarian Reform Division The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy

March 1983

Country Fact Sheet to Identify Women's Role in Agriculture and Food Production

Please indicate sources for Sources: all responses on reverse
side of this sheet

Country__________________ __Major Climate and/or Topographical Area in the Country________________MAJOR FOOD CROPS e.g. Maize, sorghum, rice, groundnuts ________________________________Note: Use a separate sheet for each major food crop in each climate and/or topographical area and for each
season where double/triple cropping occurs
Name of Crop (fill in name) (or crops, only if interoropping occurs) ____________________________Tasks Related to this Crop 11 4, i, I

land clearance . land preparation . seed selection . seedbed preparation . planting/transplanting. fertilizing . irrigating. weeding . bird scaring . pest control . harvesting. threshing *. carrying crops. processing.o. storage .~. marketing. other.

What percent of this crop i
Other Factors Influencing Di

s used vision

for home consumption _____and what percent is sold____of Labour (e.g. socio-economic differences, tribal variations, mechanization

See also pages 4 and 5 for item-,s concerning Seasonal Feaks, Farm Wage Labour and Decision-making for all crops Pg

Wo does most of e work who else helps__men women girls boys men women girls boys

enter percentages where available % of women doing % of work done
the task by women

Page - 1 -

Please indicate sources for Sources: a'11 responses on reverse
side of this sheet

Country Fact Sheet to Identify Women's Role in Agriculture and Food Production

put an x in appropriate columns
Who does most of the work Who else helps
men women gir s boys men women girls boys

enter percentage where available of women doing of work done
the task by women

What percent of this crop is used for home consumption and what percent is sold
Other Factors Influencing Division of Labour (e.g. socio-economic differences, tribal variations, mechanization


Major climate and/or Topographical Area in the Country SECONDARY FOOD CROPS e.g. fruits, vegetables, pulses

Note: Use a separate sheet for each secondary food crop in each climate and/or topographical area and for each
season where double/triple cropping occurs

Name of Crop (fill in name) (or crops, only if intercropping occurs)

Tasks Related to this Crop

land clearance . land preparation . seed selection . seedbed preparation planting/transplanting fertilizing . irrigating . . weeding o . bird scaring . pest control . . o . harvesting . . threshing o., . carrying crops processing . storage . oo . marketing . . other . - .
0 . 0- 0.

See also pages 4 and 5 for items concerning Seasonal Tasks, Farm Wage Labour and Decision-making for all crops.

Page - 2 -

Country Fact Sheet to Identify Women's Role in Agriculture and Food Production

Please indicate sources for Sources: all responses on reverse
side of this sheet


Major Climate and/or Topographical Area in the Country __________________________MAJOR CASH CROPS e.g. cotton, tea, coffee _________________________________________Note: use a separate sheet for each major cash crop in each climate and/or topographical area and for each
season where double/triple cropping occurs

Name of Crop (fill in name) (or crops, only if intercropping occurs)

Tasks Related to this Crop

land clearance *,,. land preparation. seed selection. seedbed preparation . planting/transplanting. fertilizing . irrigating . weeding . bird scaring . pest control . harvesting . threshing. carrying crops. processing . storage . marketing . . other .

What percent of this crop other Factors Influencing

is used for home consumption ______and what percent is sold ____Division of Labour (e.g. soco-eoonomic differences, tribaL variations, mechanization)

See also pag-es 4 and 5 for items concerning Seasonal Peakcs, Farm Wage Labour and Decision-maicing for all crops. Pg

put an x in appropriate columns
Who does most of the work Who else helps
men women girls boys me women girls boy

enter percentages where available 7% of women doing %of work done
the task by women

P aC, e - 3 -

Please indicate sources for Sources: responses on reverse side of

Country Fact Sheet to Identify Women's Role in Agriculture and Food Production


a) . - . o . o . o . - . - . o .

b) M . o . o . o

C) M . o . o . .
women I

in Farm Wage Labour, if data are available

b . . oo . .

0) . - - . o . o . . ol . o . o .

3. Assess the importance of other forms of male and female labour (e.g. exchange labour, group labour, unpaid assistance)

this s

Major Climate and/or Topographical Area in the Country

1 . Seasonal Peaks for Labour - please indicate by specifying crops, tasks and months, by sex




2. Involvement







Page - 4


Country Fact Sheet to Identify Women's Role in Agriculture and Food Prodijotion

Please indicate sources for Sources: responses on reverse side
of this sheet


Major Climate and/or Topographical Area in the Country

4. Decision-mnaking

Enter names of orops here .

For each crop indicate WHO (men,
women, both household).

- owns the crop .

- decides what to plant .

- pays for input expenditures.

- decides on disposal of produce

- controls the income from its

5. Also indicate, if data are available

%f of farms managed by womien______________% of female-headed households ______________% of total agricultural work done by men, women and children _____________% of the country's food grown by women ______________

Page - 5 -

Major Food Crops Secondary Food Crops Major Cash Crops

put an x in appropriate columns
Wfto does most ot the work Who else heips
men women girls boys men women girls boys

enter percentages where available % of women doing of wo-rE -done
the task by women

(put an x in appropriate column)
men women both household

Please indicate sources for Sources: all responses on reverse
side of this sheet

Countr.v Fact Sheet to Identif.)r Women's Role in A-ariculture and Food Production

Major Climate and/or Topographical Area in the Country ANIMALS - large and small - e.g. cows, goats, rabbits, poultry

Note: use a separate sheet for each type of animal

1. Type of Animal (fill in name)

2. Tasks

herding . gathering fodder feeding . watering . milking . processing . marketing . other .

3. Indicate ownership of animals

(put an x in appropriate column)

own more than half of these animals own less than half of these animals
do not own any of these animals

4. Decision-making - WHO (men, women, both, household)

pays for input expenditures . decides on disposal of this produce e.g. milk, eggs . controls income from this . decides on disposal of the animals controls income from this .

5- What percent of this crop is used for home consumption

Page -, 6 -

and what percent is sold

Country Fact Sheet to Identify Women's Role in Agriculture and Food Proauction


Please indicate sources for Sources: all responses on reverse
side of this sheet

Major Climate and/or Topographical Area in the Country
1. FISHING - small-scale coastal, river or lake: if division of labour is significantly different among these three types, please prepare separate set of responses for each type.

2. Tasks
Put an x in appropriat e column

catching .
processing .
marketing .
net making.
net maintenance.
other a.

catching .
cleaning .
processing .
net making .
net maintenance

Small-scale coastal, river or lake
WhoFishing from the shore
Wodoes most of the work Who else helps
men women -girls -boys me women - girls~by

enter percentages wn1ere availaile
'ishing fron the shore Ofi-shore. fisin
Sof women %of work f% of women % of work
doing the done by doing the done by
task women task women

Additional factors - e.g. tribal/caste aspects of fishing

Small-scale coastal, river or lake
Off-shore fishing
Who does most. of the 'work hoelse helps men women I girls - boys men women girls boys

3. Decision.-making: put an x in appropriate column
Fishing from Off-shore the shore fishing
men women men w-omen
Who pays for input
expenditures___________Who decides on
disposal of
catch ____ ____Who controls
the income__________What percent of catch is used for home consumption _ ____and what percent is

Page - 7 -

- 53 -

Appendix 6



Comrade T.R. Nhongo

Minister of Community Development and Women's Affairs

Government of Zimbabwe

The Chairperson, Representatives of FAO, Distinguished Guests, Consultation Participants, Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am greatly honoured to be here to open officially this very important consultation which is so generously sponsored by the Pood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and jointly convened by the Ministries of Community Development and Women's Affairs and Agriculture of the Government of Zimbabwe. It is alto my pleasure and privilege to welcome heartily to Zimbabwe the delegates from our sister countries in Africa.

The subject of the consultation, namely The Role of Women in Food Production a ' nd Food Security, is of great importance, not only to Zimbabwe but also, I believe, to all of our countries. Women constitute at least 50 percent of our populations, and the majority of them live in rural areas. We know from our similar histories that as our countries began to be industrialized, men migrated to urban centres, mines and commercial farms to seek wage employment. In most cases, women, children and the elderly remained in rural areas to till the land, producing food for family consumption and for sale where possible. Rural women in Africa therefore contributed and still contribute to food security through the production of food and the raising of livestock. They constitute the majority in the agricultural labour force who earn income for everyday family needs where husbands are away.

However, in spite of the major role played by women in food production, planners,
researchers and policymakers seem to have overlooked the vital roles played by women and the ways of strengthening these roles. Instead, women's role in food production appears to have been weakened by male migration from rural areas, introduction of cash crops, and lack of credit facilities and direct access to technologies, training and extension services. In addition, the traditional attitudes prescribing to women a subordinate role hampered their effectiveness in land management: they tilled the soil, yet their power to make decisions on land use was limited.

Women's activities at every stage of the food cycle affect the availability of food for the family. There is no doubt that if efforts are made to reduce the constraints faced by women in agriculture, and if the necessary support and technology suitable to women farmers are given them to improve ' their effectiveness, women would produce more food than they are producing at present. The introduction of new technologies and laws has tended previously to hinder rather than to help women farmers, depriving them of income and food production opportunities. Therefore, innovators in the field of appropriate technology should strive to introduce new technologies that are not only of benefit to men but that are also suitable for use by women. Therefore, these technologies can promote opportunities for women to produce more food for consumption and income-generation.

Donors of financial and other sorts of assistance need to consider carefully how best to utilize these resources to support effectively women's agricultural activities, especially where women produce traditional crops or raise animals that increase the quality and quantity of food.

There should be research on the viability of growing more drought-resistant and
weevil-resistant crops, like rapoko or finger millet and similar sorghums. There is also a need to develop effective and safe pesticides to control weevils, which destroy a considerable proportion of maize and beans. Such safe pesticides should be well publicized

- 54 -

and readily available to food producers in rural areas to ensure safe storage and preserVation from one crop cycle to another. Measures to combat or lessen the rava,-es of natural disasters like drought - for example, the construction of clams and boreholes in rural areas - should be taken where feasible. This would ensure water for crops, animals and people when rain fails.

Women also have problems of food storage and preservation in many parts of Africa where rainfall is not reliable. It is therefore urgent that efforts be made to improve food storage. Traditional as well as conventional techniques of storing food should be developed and women trained in their use. Marketing, pricing, quality control, packaging, etc. should be exploited to the maximum so that women can sell the food produced in excess of family consumption needs, thus generating income for themselves and their families.

In Zimbabwe, efforts are being made to assist women in food production. Women are encouraged to undertake projects like savings clubs or credit unions, which enable them to save cash to buy agricultural inputs like fertilizers and insecticides in time for the planting season. In this way, they are able to improve the soil and get more produce. The Ministry of Community Development and Women's Affairs works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture in order to assist women at the grassroots level in their agricultural projects, such as crop and livestock production. The Ministry of Community Development and Women's Affairs mobilizes women for participation in these activities and for training, while the Ministry of Agriculture conducts educational programmes on good crop husbandry.

However, improvement is constantly required and I am happy that this consultation will look seriously into the role of women in food production and food security, come up with valuable data for strengthening women's contribution, offer innovative methods and approaches for policy and action, and suggest for consideration programmes and strategies to improve rural agricultural development regarding women. You will need to look at what kinds of' support, training, and reforms are necessary.

in conclusion, I would like to urge governments, international donor agencies, planners, researchers, innovators and all those involved in and concerned with the agricultural development of our respective countries to consider seriously the recommendations of this consultation and to take positive measures toward improvement And support of women's roles in food production and food security. The livelihood and security of our nations depend on whether or not we can feed ourselves. In order to achieve this, it is only sensible to support women in agriculture and to do all we can to back them since women make up the majority of the rural population. In the same hope, I appeal to the women of Africa themselves -to take up the challenge of the new innovations, methods and strategies that will appear in the recommendations and to use them to the benefit of our families and nations.

Once more, I wish our visitors an enjoyable stay in Zimbabwe. Please avail yourselves of our assistance and hospitality to make your stay here a ' memorable one. It now gives me great pleasure to declare this consultation open. Thank you.

- 55 -


Mr. J.A.C. Davies

Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative

for Africa

Food and Agriculture Organization

It is my pleasure, on behalf of the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (PAO), to welcome you to this important Regional Consultation on Women in Fo6d Production and Food Security. Our thanks go to the Government of Zimbabwe for, hosting the consultation and for contributing-so generously to its support.

The Director-General of PAO attache$ great importance to this subject and has called for this meeting in recognition of the major responsibilities which women have for food production, processing, marketing and storage - which too often go unassisted. In the face of growing food shortages, particularly at local levels, and the need for increased production and improved distribution of food (as well as for food aid), governments are taking more and more interest in rural women farmers and in ways to support and strengthen their activities. This is extremely important here in Africa, where we all know that women have major responsibilities in agriculture and that much food and cash crop production depends on their labours.

Because rural women have multiple roles and are already overburdened, the intent is not to give them more work to do, but to assist them to be more efficient in their present activities or to find those which give them greater returns on their scarce time. At the moment, they have little access to labour-saving technology, in agriculture or at home. Greater consultation about constraints and priorities is obviously needed, with rural women themselves and with those who support them.

African regional interest in women farmers was clearly indicated in the Lagos Plan of Ac ,tion of 1980. The present meeting is also in line with its recommendations, which called on governments to "recognize women as vital instruments for solving the food crisis and make deliberate provisions to upgrade their s~kzlls and lessen their labour."1 It also urged "continuous research to promote the recognition and documentation of women's contribution to agriculture as a productive activity, especially in terms of food supply," and "establishing and strengthening women's units in planning ministries to enable them to integrate a plan of action into national strategies." We know that this integration is important but that it is not always easy, especially if the issues involved are considered to be only of interest to women rather than basic to increasing food production and selfreliance for all.

The major roles which women play in production also have been underestimated. Because of oversights like this, it seems necessary for a time to continue to discuss and act on women's programmes separately as well as to integrate assistance into other projects. Long-term integration may be achieved with more adequate information and understanding. New approaches are also needed for effective integration.

This was the point of view in Rome in 1979, at the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD). FAO member governments developed a Programme of Action for development with equity and people's participation. This included a strong set of recommendations for the integration of women, which was seen as a prerequisite for successful development with equity. WCARRD recommended, inter alia, more direct access for women producers to land, to. inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, to services and training, to decision-making groups and organizations, and to opportunities for incomeearning and education. The conference also called for women's labour to be reduced through access to improved technology and for greater efforts to document women's contribution and needs. WCARRD-criented projects for women have been or are being initiated in many African countries, including the host government of Zimbabwe. Here, three donors are combining efforts to assist groups of women farmers.

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In 1983, the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) adopted a Plan of Action to assist women farmers in the short and the medium terms, which followed WCARRD guidelines. COAG also recommended the Global Expert Consultation on Women and Food Production held in December 1983, which developed a number of background papers on women's production of different commodities. The 1983 FAO Conference, composed of member country delegations, urged that even more action be taken to assist rural women with their responsibilities for production and called for periodic reports on progress in these areas to be discussed at regional conferences and included in progress reports. The conference also recommended that women be involved in policy formulation in all stages of project development.

Some of the delegates to this consultation are also attending the FAO Regional Conference for Africa. This is a good sign. You will thus have the opportunity to discuss recommendations from this meeting with regard to scheduled agenda items, such as WCARRD or training. These deliberations may indeed have an impact on policies and projects of importance to you, to the rural women in your countries and to their families. This can highlight the importance of rural women's work as food producers, in addition to all their other responsibilities, and the critical need to improve the agricultural production capacity of women small farmers (as well as that of men).

The FAO Director-General has asked for a global film to be made on the theme of the present consultation,:namely women in food production and food security. The film may include some footage from this meeting, as well as excerpts of some of the statements. It will be ready next year in time for the Nairobi conference to review and appraise the past United Nations' Women's Decade. There is a clear need to increase the focus on rural women at this conference. The Director-General has also called for World Food Day
- October 16, 1984 - to have as its theme "Women in Agriculture." World Food Day is the day set aside each year on the anniversary of the founding of FAO to stimulate more understanding and action to meet people's basic needs for food.

We sincerely hope that through these and other joint efforts:

- the roles of rural women as farmers;
- the heavy burdens they carry;
- the relative neglect of their roles in development programmes and food-related
- their initiatives and capacities for group action in agriculture*

will come increasingly to the forefront of international, regional and national plans and actions for development.

I wish you all success in your deliberations, in follow-up action at the regional conference itself, and in your home countries.

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Dr. R.S. Finney

Chief, Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service

Food and Agriculture Organization

Dependency on food aid is growing in Africa. In March of this year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Food Programme (WFP) Task Force estimated that 3.3 million tonnes of emergency food aid are required for the 24 African countries facing critical food shortages in 1984. Over the last decade, the rate of growth in food production has lagged behind that of food demand in 32 out of 41 Sub-Saharan African countries. There are many contributing factors:

- high population growth (3 percent per annum);
- urbanization (6 percent per annum);
- growth in food demand as a result of rising incomes;
- persistent drought and precarious rainfall;
- desertification;
- crop infestation;
- rinderpest and other diseases;
- civil strife and movements of refugees;
- shortage of production inputs;
- inadequate socioeconomic policies.

At the same time, a high proportion of the total cropped area in Africa is devoted
to the production of crops for which there exists relatively limited technical assistance. Approximately 35 percent the cropped area is given over to production of millet, sorghum, roots and tubers. These crops - staples in some areas and secondary crops in others - are drought-resistant and a good source of calories when combined with some drought-resistant wild foods. With legumes and vegetables grown as secondary crops, a staple diet can be achieved which is adequate in terms of energy sources, protein, vitamins and minerals. Also, animal production can contribute to balanced diets for poor families, as can access to fish.

Rural households often try to improve the food basKet through different members
efforts to grow or to buy different kinds of foods. Women's roles as food producers and providers are crucial among the poor. They tend to be responsible for important staple crops in many.countries, for secondary crops and gathered foods, and for small-animal production. Yet they and the crops they grow, the animal production they supervise, and the money they seek and use for food purchases do not receive adequate recognition or attention in development policy, planning and action. To do so may help increase food production, improve nutrition, and lead to greater food selfreLiance for countries facing food shortages.

In his report on world food security in 1983, the FAO Director-General outlined a broad concept of food security that is relevant to our purpose. The ultimate objective is "to ensure that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to the basic food they need." (Adequate food should be a right, not a privilege). Food seourity is seen to have three specific aims:

- ensuring production of adequate food supplies;
- maximizing stability in the flow of supplies;
- securing access to available supplies on the part of those who need them.

Government programmes, pricing policies, credit and marketing possibilities, and wage-labour opportunities all affect the rural poor's decisions as to what should be grown by whom. Men's high labour migration obviously increases the work and responsibilities of the women and children left behind. The number of female-headed households is increasing significantly. Accessibility to food at the household level, a vital aspect of

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food security as defined broadly, will be negatively affected if women farmers and heads of household are not given greater attention. The mandates to do so in the Lagos Plan of Action, in the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (VICARRD) Action Programme described in The peasant's charter (which you have received), and in the booklet on WCARRD entitled Turning point for rural women, have been reviewed by Mr. Davies. Also, a programme to improve assistance to women farmers in the short and medium terms has been approved by the FAO Committ ' ee on Agriculture. (This can be found in paper COAG/11/83 in your packet, reprinted as the first in a series on women in agriculture, thus far available only in English). These mandates would lead to more recognition of what women do in agriculture (they have been estimated to constitute 80 percent of the agricultural labour force in some countries) and to their more direct access to productive resources, inputs, services, training and extension.

The background papers beforeyou outline women's contribution in more detail, review the false assumptions that prevail about the difficulties or irrelevance of reaching them directly, and the constra nts to increasing support for women's role in food security. The papers also examine issues regarding the promotion of food security with regard to various crops, animal husbandry, fisheries and food handling. The final paper discusses considerations for future action.

Our purpose here, however, is to be as practical as possible. We must address:

- What are the ways in which governments and the international community can do more
for Africa's small farmers, who happen more often than not to be women?
- What has worked so far?
- What positive examples related to policy, programmes, research, training and
extension can we share?
- What strategies and specific actions can we recommend?
- What experiences have worked in consulting rural women farmers themselves?
Will stressing food crops bring rural women benefits or harm?
What are the relative demands on time and labour implied by food versus cash
What are the opportunity costs of each crop?
What are the relative nutritional returns?

Rural women themselves can advise on these matters as well as can experts.

We must also consider the following serious matters:

- Where has harm been done that could have been avoided?
- Do programmes and projects add demands to women's time budgets if they are not
based on an adequate knowledge of what women already do?
- Do women's units lead to the isolation of their constituencies and to a law" of
inputs from line ministries like Agriculture?

In the light of:

(i) the critical nature of the food shortage in Africa;
(ii) the great contribution rural women farmers make to production;
(iii) the mandates to assist them as small producers;
(iv) the length of t-ime in which women farmers have received insufficie.- t help
from national and international sources;
we look forward to these deliberations with hope that practical suggestions
and programmes may result and be brought to the attention of governments and the international community, through all the forms and means at our disposal.

Thank you.

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Appendix 7


A set of background papers was prepared by FAO's Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service. They include:

1. Women in food production and food security in Africa by Jennie Day.

This extensive paper, prepared expressly for the consultation, takes into account FAO's concept of food security which has three elements: increased production, stability of supplies and accessibility of food. Women's roles and efforts are seen as vital to the realization of all of them.

The paper focuses its attention mainly on the role of women, not only as producers of cash crops (in cooperation with men), but also as the social group that is almost completely responsible for food crops. The paper then examines the constraints specific to these crops and therefore to women and proposes measures to.remove them and thereby increase women's output and efficiency while lessening their burdens and providing them and their families with incentives and benefits.

Women's responsibilities for secondary crops and gathered foods, for animal production, fisheries and food handling, are briefly reviewed, and the economic importance of many nonmarketed agricultural products that traditionally are in women's sphere of responsibility is stressed. The constraints are examined and possible remedies delineated for each of these sectors.

The'paper suggests that governmental and intern Ltional initiative could strengthen general policy related to women and food security, as well as provide greater access to resources and credit, agricultural practices and technologies, marketing, extension and training, support of research and women's participation in village organizations.

As far as policies are concerned, the paper stresses that strategies for development tend to take into account only the cash-crop producing sectors; that land reforms frequently neglect women by taking into account only male household heads; and actually worsen the condition of women by redistributing property of agricultural land in a manner that destroys traditional ri,-h'Vs of gathering, etc., that traditionally accrue to women. Moreover, technical improvements are normally geared to increasing the productivity of crops that fall in the man's specialization.

As a proposal for action, the reversal of these policies could increase the productivity of the very subsectors of agriculture in which women predominate not only as labour force but as owners of the land as well.

(A revised version of this paper has been published in the series Women in Agriculture, No. 3.)

2. Follow-up to World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD):
The role of women in Agricultural production (ESH WIFP/83/1)
by the Home Economics and Social Programmes Service, FAO

This paper was prepared initially by FAO for presentation at the Seventh Session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG), Rome, Italy, 21-30 March 1983. It underscores the major role of women in the production, processing, storage and marketing of food staples and in livestock production and some constraints and possibilities related to meeting women's needs for assistance. Attention is drawn to the need-to reorient programmes such as extension and training, credit and inar4eting and agrarian reform. The paper highlights factors influencing women's roles in agriculture, among them seasonality, stage in the family life cycle, presence or absence of males, socioeconomic status and penetration of the market economy.

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Taking the main concerns of World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) as a guiding framework, the paper highlights several initiatives that PAO has undertaken to promote the WCARRD mandate. These include the development of objectives and strategies to achieve WCARRD goals; improving women's access to water, land and other natural resource; promoting people's participation, access to inputs, markets and services, education, training extension and the development of non-farm rural activities.

PAO's efforts in project development and guidelines on behalf of rural women are discussed. In this regard, common features of successful projects are outlined. These include recognition of the division of labour in local farming systems, of women's inoentives and multiple roles and women's participation in project and decision-4naking, as well as monitoring the spread of benefits to village women and coordinating and donor activities for rural women.

For joint action by governments and PAO in the short term
In a deteriorating world food situation, greater support for rural women as food producers could lead to improved income and diets for them and their families. Particular attention is called for, regarding their roles and needs in all aspects of the production of food staples*. A concerted effort would be needed to conduct research and develop statistics on women farmers' responsibilities for food staples, to design and launch. supportive action, especially in extension; and to monitor results.

Amont the means of action to be considered in support of a short term programme on women and food staples would be the following: (a) advisory missions; (b) national meetings; (c) consultations between governmental as well as nongovernmental women's groups and ministries ' of agriculture; (d) identification and involvement of national institutes;
(e) in.tercountry consultations; (f) cooperation on a regional and subregional basis;
(g) regional reports on women and food staples. These last two items would be vital if regional differences and similarities were to be identified, understood and addressed effectively. Regional reports would facilitate more informed action and planning.

In addition the paper presents a number of mid-term actions that can be undertaken by governments and PAO in efforts to promote women's role in food and agriculture.

3. The state of statistics on women in agriculture in the Third World by C. Safilios Rothschild (ESH WIFP/83/13)

This report, prepared initially for the 1983 Expert Consultation on Women and Food Production, identifies the indicators needed in order to be able to obtain a more precise profile of the role women play in agriculture as well as their needs and potential for policy and planning purposes.

.The indicators, discussed in the paper on the basis of available data at national, district and village level, are divided into: (a) agricultural labour force indicators;
(b) indicators of access to land and livestock; (c) indicators of access to agricultural information and services; (d) access to education; (e) participation indicators.

Examination of existing statistics and research data has revealed that in general there is more information available about Sub-Saharan African countries than about countries in othef regions. Nevertheless, too often available information is not assembled and utilized in agricultural planning. The paper therefore underlines the urgent need to assemble all relevant data, interpret them, point out their policy implications and disseminate them among planners and policy-makers.

Such an effort would help increase the implementation success of large agricultural development projects by pointing out the appropriate factors and present constraints, needs and potential, and would clarify the vague notions of "women's integration development".

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4. Other papers

Fifteen other papers (listed below) that had been prepared by different consultants for the Expert Consultation on Women and Food Production held in Rome in December 1983 were reissued on this occasion. The papers deal with women's role in rice-farming systems; coarse grain production, horticultural production, root and tuber crop production, sheep and goat production and marketing, livestock production, poultry, extension services, appropriate technology, marketing and credit, work patterns, time allocation, effects of land tenure changes and agrarian reform.

The need for improved agricultural extension Women's role in root and tuber crops
services for women engaged in agriculture, production by Franklin W. Martin
based in part on a technical report by (ESH:WIFP/83/16)
Janice Jiggins (ESH:WIFP/83/3 Rev.) Time allocation survey: a tool for Women in rice farming systems with a focus on anthropologists, economists and nutriAfrica, by Jennie Dey (ESH:WIFP/83/4) tionists, Food Policy and Nutrition
Division, FAO (ESH:WIFP/83/17) Rice farming systems - case studies of current developments and future alternatives in upland rice and inland swamp rice, by Jennie Dey (ESH:WIFP/83/4 Corr. 1 Annex i)

Rice farming systems - case studies of current developments and future alternatives in mangrove swamp rice and irrigated rice, by Jennie Dey (Annex 2)

Women's role in horticultural production in developing countries, by Elena Garibaldi Accati (ESH:WIFP/83/5)

Work patterns of women in food production, by Bina Pradhan (ESH:WIPP/83/6)

Promoting the participation of women in food marketing and credit(marketing and credit service, FAO) (ESH:WIFP/83/7)

Women in sheep and goat production and marketing, by Constantina SafiliosRothschild (ESH:WIFP/83/8)

Appropriate technology for women in food production, by Delawit A. Aklilu (ESH:WIFP/83/9)

Women in livestock production with particular reference to dairying, by N.A. Chavangi and A. Hanssen (ESH:WIFP/83/10)

The effects on women of land tenure changes and agrarian reform, by TUlin Onger-Rosgor (ESH: WIFP/83/1 2)

Women and coarse grain production in Africa, by Diana Callear (ESTT:W FP/83/14)

The role of women in food production with particular reference to small animals at village level, based on reports prepared by Paula Gauch and A. Ben David (ESH:WIFP/83/1 5)

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Appendix 8



WCARRD follow-up: changing agrarian systems toward rural poverty alleviation (ARC/84/TC/R-EP/5)

Item 7

(1) The Technical Committee discussed the document ARC/84/9, WCARRI) follow-up: Changing agrarian systems toward rural poverty alleviation, and expressed its appreciation for this comprehensive and concise report and to the Director-General for the support he had given to implementation of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) follow-up programme in the'Africa region.

In relation to this item, the committee took note of the document ARC/84AIM/1,
Recommendations of the Government Consultation on the Role of Women in Food Production and Food Security, Harare, Zimbabwe, 10-'13 July 1984.

(2) The committee commended PAO for intensifying its efforts in the implementation of the WCARRD Programme of Action and in assisting member countries in the orientation of policies in favour of the disadvantaged rural population, the promotion of people's participation, the integration of women in the development process, and the provision of adequate education, training, extension and various inputs and services to rural people. The committee urged PAO to continue its assistance in this programme which was already yielding fruitful results.

(3) The committee noted with satisfaction the increasing allocations of PAO's Regular Programme Budget to finance rural development activities. The committee also appreciated the high priority given to Africa in the Organization's mobilization and extrabudgetary resources made available to PAO for the execution of rural development projects.

(4) The committee recalled the mandate of WCARRD to request governments to set up benchmarks to measure progress in agrarian reform and rural development. It requested FAO to continue improving the socioeconomic indicators relevant to monitoring and evaluation systems under African conditions.

(5) The committee took note of the exemplary way in which FAO has exercised its role as lead agency of the ACC Task Force on Rural Development and commended the Organization on its efforts to encourage effective participation of other concerned UN agencies in joint activities, such as high-level missions and WCARRD follow-up programmes on people's participation, women in development, and monitoring and evaluation.

(6) With regard to the important role which * rural women play in agricultural production in the region, the committee noted with great appreciation the convening of the Government Consultation on Women in Agricultural Production and Food Security sponsored by PAO, 10-13 July 1984, in Harare, Zimbabwe, and strongly endorsed the recommendations of the consultation. It urged member governments to implement them and suggested that the documents and the recommendations be circulated to all countries and organizations.conoerned.

(7) Noting that the 1983 PAO Conference had called for the subject of women's integration in rural development to be discussed at regional conferences and reported to following PAO Conferences, the committee suggested that a report be prepared for the next regional conference for Africa in preparation for the 1987 PAO Conference and be discussed at other forums.

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( ) The committee requested that FAO mobilize additional resources for related activities at policy, research and field levels, with special emphasis on extension and training and support for structures and planning to facilitate integration and support for rural women's activities in the work of their ministries.

(9) Delegates reviewed progress on women's integration in' their own countries. They emphasized the contributions women make to the production of food staples and called for the development of appropriate technology suitable to women's domestic drudgery and for them to have assistance through home economics for family management, in addition to greater assistance to them as farmers.

(10) The committee recognized people's participation as a prerequisite for any rural development strategy involving intended beneficiaries in an active and genuine manner. Accordingly it called for continued support to people's organizations, in the development process, and for more services inputs and facilities for small producers.

(11) The committee emphasized the need for effectively reaching rural people, particularly women, with extension and training programmes and recommended that governments take necessary measures to strengthen extension services in rural areas and allocate adequate resources for the implementation of extension programmes, using appropriate training methodologies.

(12) The committee noted countries' experiences in orienting national policies toward the rural poor, and planning and implementing rural development projects for increasing income and alleviating rural poverty. These activities were clear evidence of governments' will and intention to commit all possible resources to develop rural areas and eliminate the suffering of rural populations. The committee urged governments to intensify their efforts in this direction and to take the necessary measures to benefit from the experiences and knowledge generated in the region through Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TODC) activities.

(13) The committee appreciated the value and usefulness of in-depth studies of the dynamics of agrarian structures and rural poverty sponsored by FAO. It requested that these studies should be continued and the results be disseminated widely.

(14) The committee supported the important role played by the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Africa (CIRDAFRICA) in the region's rural development efforts. It called for more activities to be sponsored through the centre by various donors, expressed appreciation for FAO's support for CIRDAFRICA since its inception, and requested that this be maintained.

(15) The committee observed that some 39 countries had attended the Government Consultation on the establishment of CIRDAFRICA in September 1979, but that to date only 19 countries had joined the centre. The committee appealed to countries who had not yet joined to do so.

(16) Although realizing that international and bilateral assistance has been needed by African governments and would continue to be so, for the development of rural areas in the Africa region, the committee considered that the main task had to be undertaken by the governments and the peoples themselves. It recommended, therefore, that governments undertake the following specific actions:

(a) Further orientate their policies toward the alleviation of rural poverty, increase the allocation of resources to agriculture, improve services in rural
areas and establish an adequate monitoring and evaluation system for rural
development activities;

(b) Encourage the organization of rural people into selfreliant associations and
provide necessary structures for inputs and services to the rural populations;

(c) Encourage women's programmes and coordinate action among government agencies
to ensure women's participation in development activities, with special emphasis on food production and food security;

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(d) Provide education, training and extension services to rural populations, through
appropriate methodologies suitable to their specific conditions;

(e) Provide support to the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Africa

(17) Reiterating its appreciation to FAO for the effective assistance to rural development, the committee suggested that the Organization:

(a) Continue its programme for assisting coun tries in their efforts to implement
the WCARRD Programme of Action and give priority to Africa;

(b) Collaborate, as the lead agency in the ACC Task Force on Rural Development,
with the UN family in assisting countries in agrarian reform and rural development at th6 national and regional levels;

(c) Maintain its technical support to the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Africa and provide the necessary assistance so that the centre can
continue to assist its member countries;

(d) Assist member countries in their efforts to analyze changes in their agrarian systems and in identifying indicators for developing better systems for
monitoring and evaluation of their national policies for agrarian reform and
rural development;

(e) Continue its assistance to member countries in the identification of rural
women's needs in rural development and in planning and executing national
activities to meet these needs, with special emphasis on women in food
production and food security, following the recommendations of the Government
Consultation on this subject.

(f) Report to the 14th Regional Conference for Africa on progress made on World
Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (VICARTID) follow-up.

MIR5813/E/1 1.85/l/200L)