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Investing in women – key players for ensuring impact

Women play a critical role in producing root and tuber crops. They are also the decision makers in families and communities regarding health and nutrition, and keepers of a wealth of knowledge surrounding crop production and benefits.

“Sustainable agriculture, rural development and food security cannot be achieved through efforts that ignore or exclude more than half of the rural population – women” (FAO)

Women often work in difficult conditions and receive little recognition for their efforts. With agricultural research and extension services previously broadly directed at men, there has traditionally been a marked difference in the benefits received by men and women. By excluding women, we risk losing the chance to tap into the potential of one of the developing world’s major assets.

Closing the gender gap – the focus of FAO’s 2010-2011 “State of Food and Agriculture”– is one of the key impact issues highlighted by CIP’s Pro-Poor Research and Development model. Through its partnerships with NGOs, local organizations, and national government agencies, CIP is reaching out to women to support their greater access to resources and critical participation in project planning, implementation, and the expected impacts.

Gender is an important consideration when designing strategies for stimulating consumer demand. CIP’s value chain innovations include commercial and technological user-friendly information that takes into account gender differences. Training materials that support CIP products and programs are also developed with gender-sensitive pedagogies.

Projects

SASHA. While women account for as much as 80% of Africa’s food production, their access to land, improved technologies, and credit is extremely limited. The Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) program focuses on women as producers and guardians of family nutrition, with special attention to their needs and preferences.

Innovating women CIP-Papa Andina’s gender tool

Sustainable production in India CIP’s workshops in India target women, promoting the nutritional and culinary benefits of orange-fleshed sweetpotato.

Working with women in the Andes CIP–Papa Andina is working across the Andean region to promote women’s participation in the production and commercialization of potato and other highly nutritious Andean roots and tubers.

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