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Women in African Agriculture: farmers, mothers, innovators and educators
A Montpellier Panel Briefing Paper
17 September 2012
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda


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Introduction

We, the members of the Montpellier Panel, call for an urgent and transformative focus on the needs and perspectives of women in smallholder agricultural policy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Women play crucial roles as farmers and businesswomen - in smallholder agricultural production, as mothers managing household nutrition, and as innovators and educators. Indeed these roles span accross the entire value chain.

This briefing highlights the findings of a programme 'Women Accessing Re-aligned Markets', led by the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network from 2009-2012, and other practical approaches to inclusive agricultural development.

Because of women's dominant presence in all aspects of smallholder production, ensuring policy priorities take into account their needs and socio-economic conditions is imperative. Yet including women in agricultural policy processes in sub-Saharan Africa will require a significant change in approach to overcome such challenges as low literacy rates and the logistical and cultural barriers to participation of rural women in public decisionmaking fora.

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