5 things that would make women in Africa even more unstoppable

We know that across Africa, some women farmers like Anne, Maria and Liberata are making agriculture pay. But for millions of others, life is much harder.

Women make up half of Africa’s agricultural workforce, but produce less per unit of land than men. Not because they’re less able, less resourceful or less motivated, but because they don’t have equal access to resources like land, training and tools.

Our new joint report with the World Bank, Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, reveals that by closing the gender gap globally, women farmers could produce up to 30 percent more, and help lift up to 150 million people out of poverty.

These 5 things could help unleash the potential of women farmers across Africa:

1) Land rights

Women are less likely than men to control land. When they do, they can invest more in their farms, like Liberata who bought better fertiliser, which means more produce and more profit.

liberata
Liberata holds the title deed for the land she owns in Rwanda. Photo: Landesa.

Women are less likely than men to control land. When they do, they can invest more in their farms, like Liberata who bought better fertiliser, which means more produce and more profit.

2) Childcare

A mother and her child, Ghana.  Photo: ONE
A mother and her child, Ghana. Photo: ONE

Women often have to look after children, which means they have less time to devote to their farm. Local child-care centres, like those already running in Mozambique and Togo, can help solve this problem.

3) Mobile phones

Women of Takalafiya-Lapai village (Niger State), beneficiaries of Nigeria's Fadama II project. Photo: Arne Hoel / World Bank
Women from Takalafiya-Lapai village (Niger State), part of Nigeria’s Fadama II project. Photo: Arne Hoel / World Bank

Mobile phone apps mean women farmers can now access farming training without having to travel long distances from their family. These apps can also help them access markets and improve their literacy skills.

4) Social networks

Mwanaidi (left) taught Maria (right) how to grow nutritious sweet potatoes in Tanzania, which improved her income.  Photo: ONE
Mwanaidi (left) taught Maria (right) how to grow nutritious sweet potatoes in Tanzania, which improved her income. Photo: ONE

Providing training to a few women farmers and encouraging them to spread this information through their social circles is another way to improve women’s knowledge of better farming methods.

5) High $$$ crops

Handful of peanuts, Mali. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank
Handful of peanuts, Mali. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Cash crops such as cotton, coffee or peanuts are more profitable than staple crops like corn or beans. Enabling women to shift into commercial agriculture will boost incomes and the local economy.

Find out more about the gender gap in agriculture and how to close it by downloading the full report.