African Women and Agriculture


Women in agriculture as Driver of Economic Growth

If women worldwide had the same access to productive agricultural resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30% and raise total agricultural output by 2.5–4%. The gains in agricultural production alone could lift 100 to 150 million people out of hunger, according to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate . In Africa, the United Nations estimates that gender inequality costs the continent US$ 95 billion every year.

Agriculture is key to gender equality on the continent as the sector remains the largest employer of African women with 62% of economically active women employed in agriculture and over 90% of economically active women in Rwanda, Malawi and Burkina Faso employed in the sector. Still, depending on the country, the rural wage gap between men and women in Africa is estimated at between 15-60% . Productivity on womens' farms is significantly lower per hectare compared to men, ranging from 13% less in Uganda to 25% less in Malawi.

Without concerted effort, ongoing efforts to increase the productivity of African agriculture risk exacerbating already existing gender inequality and leaving African women worse off. However, with proper attention, agricultural growth could be the lever to unlock inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for the continent.

Vertical hydroponics can increase women agricultural output by 60% because land being a major hindrance, vertical hydroponics uses less than 1/16 of land and 20% water compared to conventional methods. Labour requirement is also very minimal as it requires less than an hour per day to run a commercial vertical hydroponics unit.