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date: 22 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the relationship between gender inequality and food security, with a particular focus on women as food producers, consumers, and family food managers. The discussion is set against the backdrop of rising and volatile food prices, the vulnerabilities created by regional concentrations of food production, imports and exports, the feminization of agriculture, and the projected effect of climate change on crop yields. The chapter outlines the constraints women face as farmers, in terms of their access to land, credit, production inputs, technology, and markets. It argues that there is substantial potential for increasing agricultural output by helping women farmers overcome these production constraints and so bridging the productivity differentials between them and male farmers. This becomes even more of an imperative, given the feminization of agriculture. The chapter spells out the mechanisms, especially institutional, for overcoming the constraints and the inequalities women face as producers, consumers, and home food managers. Institutionally, a group approach to farming could, for instance, enable women and other small holders to enhance their access to land and inputs, benefit from economies of scale, and increase their bargaining power. Other innovative solutions discussed here include the creation of Public Land Banks that would empower the smallholder, and the establishment of agricultural resource centers that would cater especially to small-scale women farmers.

Keywords: food security, gender inequality, gender differentials in production constraints, regional imbalance in food production, group farming

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