Great Women in Farming

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”
― Joseph Conrad

Farming has been the preserve of men with majority of women working as farm hands assisting with farm work. However, the 20th century has seen woman managing sizeable acres of farmland.

Many women in farming grow up in villages, live in huts have no or little education. However, being trained in the use of vaccines, fertilizers have empowered them in their farming activities.


Research has shown that income earned by women goes directly to support the family, purchase groceries, fund education and health care. Income also provides a sense of independence and well-being for the women. Today, villagers in some of the most deprived areas are financially secure which sustains dairy production.

Women in Farming – Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, an FAO project which was aimed at resourcing women farmers raised the capacity of thousands of smallholders’ farmers to produce milk. This has led to the establishment of viable and functional dairy enterprises, contributing to improved family nutrition, food security, and income and employment generation. In the vast majority of cases, that benefits the household.

Afghanistan has witnessed 20 years of war and civil unrest. Yet today, some 28 000 chicken coops, constructed by the women who participated in the two projects, provide visible confirmation of the FAO projects’ importance to village women across Afghanistan. During the three years of the first project, participants produced 106 metric tonnes of poultry meat and 21 million eggs, out of which only 7.5 million were consumed by their families. The project affords the women the chance to meet their neighbours, discuss other common family issues, to socialize and to learn about poultry production

Thus, the projects had the added benefit of increasing women’s knowledge of family nutrition, hygiene and health issues. Therefore should all women in farming villages or towns receive these opportunities being given by the FAO, there will be an improvement in their standard of living.


Women in farming also encounter impediments which negatively affect their productivity and well being. There is the Lack of funds and the lack of knowledge on how to increase yield and sales. In Burkina Faso although mostly women are involved in millet production, they cannot access the mills and do not receive revenue from the selling of millet. Thus, they are dependent on resources from their spouses.

Celebrating Women in Farming

International Women’s Day on March 8 provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of rural women in farming around the world., said rural women produce half the world’s food, and account for between 60 to 80 percent of the food in most developing countries. She said the global food crisis could be overcome more quickly if food production and trading systems recognized the value of family farms, and especially the labour of women. “She said. “The chronic loss of farmers around the world is one symptom of a global food crisis.”


There are questions about high-input, industrial model of agriculture with its dependence on exports. A wave of change is happening across the world in the form of a “local food” movement, with women leading the way. This is focused on food production that supports environmental sustainability, food quality and safety, and economic fairness in the marketplace.



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