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Climate crisis threatens food security for women and girls

Women and girls, especially in rural communities, continue to face the brunt of the climate crisis that exacerbates pre-existing inequalities, jeopardizes their food security, and feeds instability and migration, warns the United Nations World Food Programme on International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day 2022 focuses on “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world who play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Women and girls often lack appropriate access to disaster information, financial services and participation in community decision-making and resource allocation. Such inequalities undermine the ability of women to prepare for, cope with and recover from climate shocks and stresses.

“Women are the bedrock of food security and yet are hardest hit by climate shocks and food insecurity,” said WFP’s Assistant Executive Director, Valerie Guarnieri. “A sustainable future is only possible when women and girls have what they need to adapt to the changing climate.”

In Ghana, over 50 percent of the labour force employed in agriculture are women. They constitute 70 percent of crop growers and 85 percent of food distributors. As part of efforts to strengthen resilience in climate action, WFP in collaboration with five regional agricultural directorates (the Upper East, Upper West, Bono East, Northern and Ashanti regions), trained 70 agriculture extension agents and 21,000 smallholder farmers, more than half of whom are women, on climate-smart agricultural practices.  In so doing, WFP Ghana contributes to environmental conservation, sustainable farming, and promoting the integration of good nutritional practices in agriculture. The training also layered included gender mainstreaming and knowledge transfer to other farmers who were not direct beneficiaries of these sessions.

“In many developing countries women often have extensive home-grown knowledge of local ancient plant species.  This knowledge enables them to diversify their household diets and helps to strengthen their family’s food and nutrition security,” said WFP Ghana Representative, Barbara Clemens. “When these foods disappear due to climate change, households that relied on them to augment their access to nutritious foods are compromised.”

Source: World Food Programme  

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