More support for women in agriculture


PARTICIPATION of women in agriculture sector of Papua New Guinea as an important part of economic growth.
Women are shaping the rural economy in developing countries- they contribute as farmers, labourers, and entrepreneurs.
Recent studies report that the majority of the world’s farmers are women and they cover a wide variety of roles.
In PNG, where up to 97 per cent of land is owned by the people, land is life. And women are the backbone of the land.
And women do 70 per cent of the work in agriculture but their role has not been fully recognised.
Despite that, they earn little government respect for the vital role they play, and support from men is lacking.
World Farmers Organisation (WFO) says what is striking is that women face greater difficulties and constraints than their male counterparts with regards to land ownership, access to credit, markets, technology, seeds, water, information and education and other services.
These disparities must be corrected as it is estimated that women produce up to 80 per cent of the world’s food.
WFO aims to promote the formation and strengthening of women producer organisations and ensure that women have a voice within mixed organisations.
Last year, the Apec Third Senior Officials meeting focused on the participation of women in not only agriculture and the fisheries sectors of PNG as an integral part of economic growth.
The meeting was told women make up half of PNG’s population and they produce and process more than 80 per cent of this country’s food with limited assistance.
The economic opportunities in agriculture is huge.
However, it seems this sector is under-performing in many cases because women lack resources and opportunities to reach their full potentials.
Sustainable agriculture in PNG is crucial to lifting more of its population from poverty.
According to the World Bank, just 18 per cent of Papua New Guineans live in urban areas, so farming would seem to make sense as an economic lifeline.
However, the nation is very mountainous, leaving just 25 per cent of its land suitable for agriculture. This presents a significant problem when it comes to developing sustainable agriculture projects in PNG; but thankfully, new technologies stand to make a difference and boost agricultural output in the island nation.
Delegates from South Korea, Chinese Taipei, the United States, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Chile during the meeting last year commended PNG on the initiative and indicated their further dialogue and discussions on how they can offer advice and assistance.
Chinese Taipei said to help introduce various training programs including agriculture technology, innovation and management etc… for women empowerment in the rural areas.
Korea shared their experiences on women development programs and policy.
The Korean government establishes basic plans to empower women farmers and wants to share best practices to help economies and to contribute to the PNG initiative.
Hopefully, sustainable agriculture projects in PNG will make farming more economical and reduce poverty levels as more citizens are able to engage with the career.
Agriculture can be an important engine of growth and poverty reduction.
Efforts by national governments and the international community to achieve their goals for agricultural development, economic growth and food security will be strengthened and accelerated if they build on the contributions that women make and take steps to alleviate these constraints.
Future improvements also stand to benefit women especially, who often form the backbone of the PNG agricultural industry.

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