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.
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The fight against extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition is not possible without gender equality and women empowerment, José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said today in Rome, where he called for more efforts to ensure that rural women, "the backbone of our work in agriculture," enjoy a level playing field.