23 October 2017

Africa: Women, Africa's Forgotten Farmers

analysis

Is this finally the time for Africa's agricultural boom? Yes, if women are given a seat at the table.

As we conclude a week of celebrating women with the International Day of the Girl and the International Day for Rural Women, it's worth asking: do governments have any idea what life is really like for female farmers in Africa? With such a relentless focus on urbanisation and Africa's fast-growing cities, do they care - or at least, care enough? The untold tales of some of the female farmers with whom I've worked in Cameroon suggest a number of ways policy-makers could finally unlock some of the sector's vast potential at the smallholder level. It is here, not the grand commercial schemes that so excite African leaders and foreign investors, where the greatest impact on rural African communities will be felt.

In Babessi, in the plains just below Mont Oku, where many female farmers live and farm, it was a good harvest this year.

"We are very happy with our harvest," says Clarisse. "The corn is large and the grains are bigger than we are used to."

At 26, Clarisse is a wife, mother of four and sole...

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