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empowering women farmers and agricultural scientists

African women farmers and agricultural scientists make essential contributions to agriculture and can do so much more to help drive agricultural growth and tackle hunger in Sub Saharan Africa—but they must be fully engaged.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) report, The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11, states that women comprise, on average, 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, yet they consistently have less access to helpful resources and opportunities for growth.  They operate smaller farms, keep fewer livestock, have a greater workload and are usually left with the lower status activities such as carrying water and fetching firewood. Women also usually receive lower wages for the same work than men, even when they have the same qualifications and experience.

If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 per cent, raising agricultural output and reducing the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 per cent.

On International Women’s Day, we commend the UK government for their investment in agricultural development research in developing countries, and urge them to strengthen their ability to reach women through this work. We invite them to partner with and encourage other governments, and the private sector to increase their support and to ensure that women are prioritised in agricultural development strategies and programmes.

On this basis, Agriculture for Impact (A4I), African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development are hosting a parliamentary briefing on 7th March which will focus on finding solutions on how to empower African women scientists.  There will also be a question and answer session at the end of the event, which will give attendees the opportunity to express their views and to get their questions answered. 


Heidi Alexander MP, Moderator  

Dr Camilla Toulmin, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Dr Sheila Ommeh, AWARD Fellow/Geneticist, Biosciences eastern and central Africa, International Livestock  Research Institute, Kenya

Christine Mukantwali, AWARD Fellow/Senior Scientist, Post-harvest Research Activities, Rwanda Agriculture Board  

Vicki Wilde, Director, AWARD

Monique Mikhail, Sustainable Agriculture Policy Advisor, OXFAM GB  

Joseph Cerrell, Director, European Office, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Professor Sir Gordon Conway, Agriculture for Impact, Imperial College London

Event details 

The invitation can be found here.

When: 7th March 2012 from 12:30-2:00pm

Where: Committee Room 10, Houses of Parliament

To secure a place, RSVP no later than Monday 5th March to Jo Seed ( 


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