The Montpellier Panel call for an urgent and transformative focus on the needs and perspectives of women in smallholder agricultural policy in sub-Saharan Africa. Women play crucial roles as farmers and businesswomen in smallholder agricultural production, as mothers managing household nutrition, and as innovators and educators. Indeed these roles span across the entire value chain.
This briefing highlights the findings of a programme ‘Women Accessing Re-aligned Markets’, led by the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network from 2009-2012, and other practical approaches to inclusive agricultural development. Because of women’s dominant presence in all aspects of smallholder production, ensuring policy priorities take into account their needs and socio-economic conditions is imperative. Yet including women in agricultural policy processes in sub-Saharan Africa will require a significant change in approach to overcome such challenges as low literacy rates and the logistical and cultural barriers to participation of rural women in public decision-making fora.