Female farmers and extension workers should take the lead in reducing gender inequality in agriculture

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A CABI-led study which compares male and female perceptions of access to and use of agricultural advisory services to help improve yields says women should take a lead role in helping to reduce inequalities which hinder their contribution to farming.

Julien Lamontagne-Godwin, lead author of a new paper, published open access in the Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, says a network of ‘trained and knowledge-rich female lead “contact” farmers’ could be trialled to understand its potential role in improving the dissemination of agricultural information to women in farm households.

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Meeting the needs of women farmers in Pakistan

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A women-only plant clinic takes place in Punjab province, Pakistan

Globally, women represent 43% of the agricultural labour force but they have less access than men to credit, education, land ownership, high quality inputs, and rural advisory services. Agriculture can be a powerful pathway out of poverty but without fair access to these things, women aren’t always in a position to fully benefit.

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Including more women in Plantwise Pakistan

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With a strong emphasis on making sure gender is embedded within the entire programme, Plantwise Pakistan has been actively pursuing the participation of more women in its activities and implementation. Realising the important role of females in agricultural development and the need to build their own capacity, the Agriculture Department of Punjab nominated 12 female agriculture officers from different districts to attend a recent Plantwise training session. The continuous increase in attendance of women is positive news for both Plantwise and Pakistan.

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Cultivating more women leaders in Plantwise Pakistan

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It was such a pleasure to talk to Noureen Anum (Anum) over video call from across the border in India and hearing about her experiences and role in Plantwise. She is an agricultural officer in Taxila, a small Tehsil near Rawalpandi District in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Taxila has long been known for its universities empowering many with knowledge and information. Anum has been working in the extension service for the last two and a half years and was trained as Plantwise master trainer in 2017. Since then she has not only been training more master trainers to scale up trainings but is also continues to work with farmers as a plant doctor.

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The Umatui amazing site women group tackle Tuta absoluta

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Located in semi-arid Eastern Kenya, Machakos county is home to the Umatui amazing site women group. The group comprises 15 members who mainly grow tomatoes, cowpeas, pigeon peas, and maize. It is among eight other women groups working with Katoloni Community Based Organisation (CBO),  a non governmental organization under infonet biovision. The CBO runs a mobile Plant Clinic in Machakos county, Kenya and mostly targets organized farmer groups.

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Does gender affect how farmers use rural advisory services?

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In an article recently published in The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, CABI authors set out to discover more about gender differences in access to rural agricultural information. The research was undertaken in Pakistan and found major gender differences regarding use and preference of agricultural information in relation age and literacy.

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Fostering knowledge and confidence to feed more

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Valli Kupuswamy with her grand-daughter, Pouvisha, in their kitchen. Photo: Sanjit Das/Panos

Globally, an estimated 815 million people go hungry each day. Without access to healthy food, they are chronically undernourished. Meanwhile, in spite of advances in agricultural technology, approximately 40% of the food grown annually in rural communities is lost to pests and diseases. People living with persistent hunger need and deserve a sustainable solution based on self-reliance. Reducing the losses caused by plant health problems by just 1% could mean feeding millions more.

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