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Girls key to global agricultural development


Summary of story from The Guardian, October 7, 2011

Women – particularly adolescent girls – are key to agricultural development and food security in poor countries, according to a report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The report says that if women farmers are given the same access to resources, such as finance, as men, their agricultural yields could increase by 20 to 30 per cent; the national agricultural could rise by 2.5 to 4 per cent; and the number of malnourished could be reduced by 12 to 17 per cent.

However, rural adolescent girls are often the most disadvantaged because of their location, age and gender.

“Girls are frequently undervalued within their societies – their existence, their contributions and their potential [are] often given little credence,” the report says.

Countries’ agriculture plans should include improving safety and security, and providing access to comprehensive health education and services.

Other recommendations include making education more accessible to girls, and removing barriers they may face, such as marital and inheritance laws that exclude them from access to land or other assets.

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