Give women a chance to slash global hunger with small-scale gardening (Willem Van Cotthem)

Have you read the former posting on this blog  ?

SMALLHOLDERS, RURAL PRODUCERS KEY TO SLASHING GLOBAL HUNGER AND POVERTY – BAN (UNNews)

Please pay attention to the following parts of Mr. BAN KI-MOON’s statement :

(1) Smallholders and rural producers have a vital role to play in overcoming global hunger and poverty, and new and varied partnerships are needed, with particular emphasis on the interests of women.

(2) The growing international recognition of the role of agriculture and rural development in poverty reduction is helping to build the Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition.

(3) Despite the hardships of the global recession, last year saw an upturn in investment in agriculture, along with promises from world leaders of large additional increases over the next three years.

(4) We need to continue creating diverse and innovative partnerships that can help people and communities achieve greater productivity, nutritional health and self-reliance,” he said. “In this respect we must give pre-eminence to the interests of women, who juggle their time between food production, processing, marketing, child care and balancing the household budget.

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Here is my conclusion :

The growing international recognition of the role of agriculture and rural development in the combat of hunger and malnutrition and the reduction of poverty is largely based upon the vital role played by smallholders and rural producers.  In order to achieve greater productivity, nutritional health and self-reliance, priority must be given to the interest of the women.  They take care of food production, processing, marketing, child care and balancing the household budget.

Taking into account that most of the rural women in the drylands spend the major part of their daily life with small-scale agricultural activities, it goes without saying that, when creating diverse and innovative partnerships that can help people and communities achieve greater productivity, the best return on investment will come from the creation of small kitchen gardens close to their houses.

There is no need to offer them some financial resources.  Funding to start up a family garden can be done as a “micro-credit”, not with a certain sum of money, but in the form of the necessary materials and equipment.

Success stories have shown that offering a family garden to women is the easiest and most efficient way to combat hunger and poverty.

Is this something for NGOs or a Foundation ?  or should one of the International UN agencies take the responsibility for such a practical programme to limit world hunger within the shortest period ?

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.