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Farming is not gender neutral - Q & A with Ann Tutwiler

by Portal Web Editor last modified May 16, 2015 07:40 PM
Contributors: Lizzie Sayer
On the eve of a major conference on closing the gender gap in farming under climate change, we catch up with Ann Tutwiler, Director General of Bioversity International and a speaker at the conference.

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Hi Ann. You’re participating in a forthcoming conference organised by CCAFS, Future Earth, and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) on the topic of ‘Closing the gender gap in farming under climate change’. Why is this issue important to the work of Bioversity International, and to you personally?

Ann Tutwiler - Farming is not gender neutral; both men and women have a role to play.  The 2 billion smallholder farmers who live in developing countries – often women – produce the majority of the world’s food, yet most live in poverty. Unfortunately, women farmers tend to be more at risk from climate change than men as they often lack the means to cope with the harmful effects of climate change. They tend to have fewer assets and less access to information, improved varieties and technology, so they tend to be especially vulnerable to climate change. A recent FAO report calculated that if women had the same access to productive resources as men they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 per cent. This could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5-4 per cent. This could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 per cent.

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