On August 14, IFPRI and the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) held a Policy Forum on food and nutrition security in Zambia. The meeting was attended by 66 representatives of various international organizations and government ministries, including the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the European Union.

This piece was originally posted on IFPRI.org
By Rebecca Sullivan

At the L’Aquila G-8 summit in 2009, governments and organizations committed more than $20 billion to agriculture and rural development as a means of promoting food and nutrition security.

The last ten years have witnessed incredible economic and agricultural growth in Africa. Between 2000 and 2010, the continent was home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world.

However, can this growth continue in a sustainable, inclusive way?

At first glance, it may seem that women in northern Mozambique might enjoy more power than women in other places, at least in the agricultural sector. In this region, land is often passed through matrilineal rather than patrilineal lines. And since the enactment of the Mozambique Land Law in 1997, one might expect that women here are better able to access land and retain control over land they bring with them into marriage.

Fertile soil is one of the basic building blocks of agricultural productivity. In order for crops to grow properly, soils need to contain the proper nutrients; unfortunately in many areas of the world, soils have become depleted of their nutrients, leading to decreased productivity.

With less than two years to go to meet the Millennium Development Goals, how has the world done on its goal of halving hunger? According to the IFPRI 2013 Global Food Policy Report, released this week, much work remains. While the number of chronically hungry people has declined from 1 billion to around 842 million over the last 30 years, this number is still unacceptably high. One in eight people around the world suffers from hunger on a daily basis.

Use, control, and ownership of productive assets – land, money, livestock, and education, to name just a few – are essential stepping stones on the path out of poverty. But this pathway can look very different depending on whether you are a man or a woman. Growing evidence suggests that women typically have fewer assets than men, and that they use those assets differently. What’s more, agricultural development programs may impact men’s and women’s assets in different, sometimes unexpected, ways.

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