An Opportunity for Government & Donors
PNGWiA President, Maria Linibi says women have a major role to play in Agriculture IMAGE: Trukai Industries is a big supporter of PNGWiA and provides farmer trainings for its members
Despite their contribution to agriculture, women face more constraints than men in accessing resources, markets and services.
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation revealed agriculture will continue to underperform in many developing countries if the gender gap among other factors is not addressed.
“Evidence from many different countries show that female farmers are just as efficient as their male counterparts, but they have less land and use fewer inputs, so they produce less.”
The report Women in Agriculture: Closing the Gender Gap for Development indicated significant improvements for the industry if the gap was bridged by those in positions of leadership.
“If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 percent and see a raise in total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5-4 percent, which could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 percent.”
With a membership count of 53 000 farmers, Papua New Guinea Women in Agriculture (PNGWia) President, Maria Linibi is pushing for women to not only become self-sufficient food producers but with their assistance build resilient communities.
“We’re lobbying the government for the creation of a policy to support women in the sector.”
“It’s an opportunity for government to consider our role in agriculture and the impact it has on our families and communities which is often overlooked,” she said.
Linibi says government and donors play a crucial role for many women in agriculture.
“If they can adopt a more proactive role towards gender equality in the agriculture sector, productivity levels will automatically pick up nationwide.”
“The impact of these contributions will not only be felt at homes but seen on the growth charts of our economic and social development goals,” she said.
“Currently there isn’t enough support here for women but the endorsement of this policy could change that.”
PNGWiA receives its support mainly from the private sector including Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA) who have helped provide farmer trainings for its members.
“We’ve only returned from a conference hosted by AWiA where the focus was on building resilience in women in agriculture and business.”
“We’re a member of AWiA and in the past 8 years we’ve been learning and closely watching the steps they take to empower 3rdand 4thgeneration successful leaders in the industry,” she said.
“Papua New Guinea is a third world country and while our lessons are different, we use their experiences to help us develop our own strategy.”
Ron Hartman, iFAD Country Director for Indonesia and the Pacific said empowering women was central to the future of agriculture as women tend to invest back into their families, communities and economy.
“All women need to be empowered, to have more influence in decision making and to address gender inequalities in their agriculture context.”
“Women in agriculture also need our support in having access to models that work and can be replicated,” he said.