Women’s vital role in global food production goes unrecognised

According to a new report by Twin – Empowering Women Farmers in Agricultural Value Chains – launched at a join event with the Fairtrade Foundation, around 70% of agricultural work is done by women but many businesses are unaware of the vital role they play as their work is often invisible, going unrecognised and unpaid.

Women are still facing a glass ceiling when it comes to transporting crops to market and completing sales, according to the report, which analysed interviews with 14 producer groupings in Ghana, India, Malawi, Nicaragua, Peru and Rwanda. Women also face barriers regarding land ownership which affects access to credit and can prevent them from joining producer organisations.

Twin’s MD, Nicholas Mounard, commented: “We see on the ground that investing in women and giving them leadership opportunities results in smarter, better use of money – both in producer organisations and in the home. The invaluable role women farmers play in ensuring consistent quality products may be unseen by business, but should not be forgotten.”

The Fairtrade Foundation’s CEO, Michael Gidney, added that “Fairtrade is working with businesses to invest in gender-focused policies, training and income-generating initiatives targeted at women to provide greater impact on women farmers’ lives.”

The two organisations are calling on businesses to act on the recommendations of the report, the full version of which can be downloaded from www.twin.org.uk.