At thirty, Olga Macz is a teacher and entrepreneur, and a force to be reckoned with. She leads a women’s group in Campur, a small municipality in the mostly rural Alta Vara Paz department of Guatemala, which makes and sells organic shampoo. For many of the women, this is the first time that they are making their own money and making decisions.
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Alphonsine Nyiranzeyimana, a farmer from Cyahinda, in the southern part of Rwanda, says that learning new farming techniques completely changed her life. She’s not exaggerating. Today, Nyiranzeyimana is the leader of a farmers’ cooperative and the yield on some of her crops has more than doubled. The agricultural sector accounts for a third of Rwanda's GDP and more than 70 per cent of Rwandan women are engaged in farming activities since their childhood. Yet, they don’t have the same access to land, production inputs, finance or markets as men.
Working closely with national stakeholders, through the RYM project on youth mobility, food security, and rural poverty reduction, FAO has promoted innovative pathways for decent youth employment and agricultural entrepreneurship in areas prone to migration. In particular, the project provided unemployed youth with training and equipment, helping them launch their own small agricultural enterprises, also by productively investing the remittances received form the diaspora.
Through women's cooperatives, a joint UN programme provides training in agricultural techniques, improved seeds and time-saving machinery, while also granting loans and encouraging saving.
Malaythip Viengmany is a smallholder fish farmer from the village of Kangphosay, in Lao People's Democratic Republic. Like many in Kangphosay, her income and livelihood has been severely affected by recurring floods.
In 2010, severe flooding killed nearly 2 000 people in Pakistan and wiped out 1.6 million homes. The province of Sindh was among the hardest hit, with some 970 000 households displaced and agriculture losses of USD 2.3 billion. For the average Pakistani farming family, the disaster meant huge personal loss and growing debt - and fewer opportunities to earn a living.
In Côte d'Ivoire, as in much of West Africa, smoked fish plays a major role in the everyday diet. It is popular among locals not only for its taste and nutritional benefits, but also for its competitive pricing (especially compared to other protein options such as meat, milk and eggs) and its relatively long shelf-life (which ranges from 3-6 months).
Across the developing world, rural women play a crucial role in agriculture and farming. And Bangladesh, where women exceed 50 percent of the agricultural labour force, is no exception.
The Blue Growth Blog, run by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at FAO, reflects on recent activities related to women and their role in the sector.
Fighting food taboos for women In Yalosuna, a village in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dimitra community listeners' clubs have played a role in changing people's perceptions about food taboos for women, improving food security and nutrition issues in the communities as a result.