Did you know?

  • Women are a huge part of the agricultural labor force in developing countries — up to 50 percent in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Women farmers are less productive than men because they have a harder time getting land, tools, credit and training.
  • If women had the same access to these resources as men, they could increase farm yields by 20 to 30 percent.
  • Increased agricultural output could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by up to 150 million.

By empowering rural women — with access to credit, the means to transport crops to market and, most fundamentally, the basic right to make decisions about the use of their land and resources — we help feed the world and spark important social advances.

Tanzanian women are engaged and empowered in the nation’s agriculture sector. (Paul Weisenfeld/USAID)

Through its Feed the Future initiative and other programs, the United States works to improve agriculture in 19 partner countries in Central America, Africa and South Asia. Empowering women farmers is one successful strategy. And the results?

  • In Tanzania, better irrigation means higher crop yields, and better access to markets equals higher farm income. Still on the agenda: increasing the nutritional value of crops and improving crop processing and storage.
A Ghanaian farmer walks through her soy field. (Elisa Walton/USAID)
  • In Ghana, experts help rice, maize and soybean farmers introduce more robust seed varieties, get more credit and create better links between farmers and markets.
A worker sorts chickpeas at the Agro Prom processing facility in Adama, Ethiopia. (David Kahrman/USAID Ethiopia)
  • With U.S. assistance, an Ethiopian food processing company opened a new chickpea processing and cleaning plant. As processing standards improve, Ethiopian chickpea farmers will get better prices for their crops.

When women farmers thrive, their children are better fed and are more likely to attend school and to excel. The kids have a better future and so do their families and their nations.

Read more about advancing women’s opportunities in the developing world.  And follow #FeedtheFuture to see how even modest investments produce big results.