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African women and children can be rescued from food insecurity and malnutrition

Photo credit: ScoDevNet

Copyright: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos

Women, tech key to curbing food insecurity in Africa

Focusing on identifying and harnessing these social advantages could help in tackling the technological challenges faced by African women.

by Pauline Okoth

Every time I hear about hunger and malnutrition, my thoughts drift to the millions of African women who toil on farms, but see their children remain hungry.

At such moments of reflection, I often wonder how vulnerable African women and children can be rescued from this vicious cycle of food insecurity and malnutrition.

When I attended the 6th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security in Uganda last week (28-30 October), the discussions around the theme “empowering our women, securing our food, improving our nutrition” gave me some insight into what needs to be done to address this issue.

I realised that while the solution to the perennial food security and nutrition problem lies in the hands of women, major obstacles remain, particularly land security tenure.

I spoke to Josephine Kiamba, a senior technical adviser of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) — which organised the meeting —   and the UK-based Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College, London.

“I think technology is an even bigger hindrance for women than land,” Kiamba told me, reasoning that more women have access to land for food production even if they don’t have ownership.

Kiamba says access to technology reduces the time women spend in farm-related activities, allowing them more time to take better care of their children.

However, as technology improves, she adds, the men tend to take over, noting that in the food system, technological innovations such as bio-fortification, mechanisation and information and communication technology do more than saving time: They produce better quality and quantity outcomes.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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