Jul 2, 2024
UN, USDA to highlight role of women in global agricultural production

The USDA plans to highlight the role women play in global food production as part of the United Nations’ designation of 2026 as the International Year of the Woman Farmer.

According to a recent USDA article, women are responsible for approximately half of the world’s food production. The initiative aims to highlight their contributions and address the social and economic challenges they face.

In 2019, women comprised 38% of all agricultural workers in world crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry primary production. Globally, 36% of working women work in agrifood systems.

The initiative’s goals include:

  • Increasing public awareness of women’s role in farming.Attaining better awareness of land tenure issues and how they impact female farmers.
  • Improving understanding of the women farmers’ financial needs and constraints and ensuring access to credit and markets.
  • Increasing understanding of the women farmers’ technical needs and constraints and ensuring access to technical support and education.
  • Supporting development of policies conducive to female farmer empowerment.

USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor hosted an event at the USDA’s Whitten Patio. The event brought together more than 200 partners and stakeholders in person and 800 online and marked the beginning of preparations for the 2026 observance.

“We’re so proud of USDA’s role in leading U.S. government efforts to introduce and generate support for the resolution,” Taylor said in the article. “This marked the first time in history that the United States was the lead sponsor of an ‘International Year’ at the UN.”

The event featured a panel discussion led by Taylor that included insights from Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur and Lauren Phillips from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield also delivered a video address, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts to close the gender gap in agriculture.

“The International Year of the Woman Farmer offers governments, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders the opportunity to better understand the challenges women face,” Thomas-Greenfield said in the article. “Together, let’s amplify the voices of women farmers and ensure access to credit markets, education and technology.”

More information is available online.

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