Oxfam is running a series of blogs on the Future of Agriculture. Day 6’s discussion includes a post by Madiodio Niasse, Secretariat Director of the ILC. Mr. Niasse focuses on the importance of securing women’s rights to land tenure as a strategy to improve agricultural productivity and food security. He writes: “FAO argues that closing the gender gap in agriculture would increase average crop yields some 20–30 per cent on women’s lands, equivalent to a 2.5-4 per cent increase in domestic food production, and a 10–20 per cent decrease in the number of undernourished people worldwide (100–150 million out of 950 million people). Evidence from around the world shows that when women have more influence over economic decisions (as is the case when they have secure land rights), their families allocate more of their incomes to food, health, education, children’s clothing, and children’s nutrition.” More than this though, providing more secure land rights would help promote the voice and participation of women – a key goal of improved governance: “Addressing the gender disparities in land access would also help improve rural women’s social inclusion and identity. Having a land title often means having a physical address and thus access to birth certificates, identity cards, and voting documents, all of which are indispensable if women are to exercise their citizens’ rights and take part in debates on issues of common interest.” Mr. Niasse makes the case that protecting these rights is “smart and it’s right.” USAID works to promote women’s land and resource rights around the world, helping build economically and socially communities.
December 26, 2012