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Help Rural Women, Help Feed the World
October 19, 2021

A female farmer operating a tilling machine.

Did you know?

    • Women are a huge part of the agricultural labor force in developing countries — up to 50% 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%.
  • 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. (USAID/Paul Weisenfeld)

Through its Feed the Future initiative and other programs, the United States works to improve agriculture in 12 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. (USAID/Elisa Walton)
      • 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.
      • In Nepal, a Feed the Future-supported private-sector partnership provides training as well as access to machines to 200,000 farming families across 25 districts.
      • In Guatemala, the Inter-American Foundation, a Feed the Future partner agency, works with subsistence farmers and a women-led cacao and chocolate producers’ group to boost their incomes and beef up food security. One of the foundation’s grantees empowers indigenous women and provides farmers with training, programs and support to plant, harvest and sell cacao to help communities thrive.
      • With U.S. assistance and thanks to Feed the Future, which has been around since 2011, 8.2 million people live in households that are no longer starving.


  • 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.
  • Follow @FeedtheFuture and visit its LinkedIn page to see how even modest investments produce big results. An earlier version of this article was published October 9, 2015.