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Climate Smart Agriculture and gender

Improved climate services can enhance adaptive capacity and resilience among vulnerable people and women. An acute gender-sensitive response from agriculture extension service agents and local governmental officials is important in ensuring women adopt climate-smart practices.

The smallholder farmers particularly women and vulnerable community members risk being overwhelmed by the pace and severity of climate change yet they are the mainstay of food production in the country.

Climate smart agriculture involves using technologies that can assist farmers in transitioning from traditional farming strategies to new climate-aware ones.

These technologies focus on improved water management through water harvesting and use of drip irrigation, soil and water conservation measures, mulching, intercropping, introduction of drought tolerant crops and practicing agroforestry among others.

Farmers practicing Climate Smart Agriculture

According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, climate smart agriculture consists of three main pillars namely: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes (food security); adapting and building resilience to climate change (adaptation); and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), where possible.

Women are increasingly playing an important role in food production, notably in small scale farming which plays an important role in achieving greater food security.

Despite their contributions to the global food supply, women farmers are often undervalued and overlooked in agricultural development strategies.

Focusing Climate Smart Agriculture information, resources, technologies and practices on women is an important strategy for catalyzing adoption and ensuring rapid and flexible adaptation to climate change.

According to a World Bank report titledĀ Levelling the field: improving opportunities for women farmers in Africa, a key hindrance to agricultural development and broader growth is a wide and pervasive gender gap in agricultural productivity.

The report argues that tackling the barriers that hold back the productivity of female farmers could both enhance gender equality and usher in broader economic growth.

Targeting women and other vulnerable groups with Climate Smart Agriculture increases the likelihood of achieving the sustainable development goals. But, a focus on women will only be successful when gender norms that are currently inhibiting change are addressed.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), providing female farmers access to the same resources as men could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100-150 million.

Women also produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food in most developing countries but despite this their involvement in selection of suitable crops and adoption of innovative and good management practices, is very low.

If climate smart agricultural practices are to be accepted in farming communities they must be viewed as beneficial to both men and women farmers.

A gender sensitive approach is crucial to achieving climate smart agriculture. The roles, responsibilities and capacities of both men and women need to be well understood to ensure that both men and women benefit from climate smart agricultural practices.

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By Bob Aston | Friday, May 29th, 2015 | 3 Comments | Tags : Agriculture Farmis Soko+ Markets

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