Food Production and Food Security

Key Messages

• Closing the gender gap in agriculture would appreciably increase agricultural productivity and therefore reduce poverty and hunger;
• Closing the gender gap in access to and control over resources (e.g. land, production inputs), and in access to information and technology, will increase agricultural productivity;
• Subsistence farming, home food production and wild food collection (sectors heavily dominated by women) are not sufficiently valued in national and global data sets, or in research and extension services. Yet they contribute more to household food security and gender equality than do production of commodity crops, especially in times of price and market instability;
• The environmental impacts of the currently dominant high-input, large-scale model of agriculture and the failure to meet food security goals, together with the onset of the effects of climate change, have led to widespread acknowledgement that a “business-as-usual” approach to agriculture is inadequate;
• Women and men may be exposed to agricultural pesticides and related hazards along different pathways. The health effects of chronic pesticide exposures on women and men vary considerably;
• The prevalence and nature of food insecurity differ across types of households and within households. Within food-scarce households, women and men typically use different strategies to cope with food insecurity;
• The use of agroecological approaches that consider the entire food system (including ecological, economic and social dimensions) supports gender equality. Such approaches can reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture, promote participation and decision-making by women and men, and so contribute to both food security and food sovereignty.

See the authors involved in the chapter drafts.