This paper will explore the problem of food security in Africa. It will provide a general overview of the problem. Then it will relate the issue to the specific ways in which food security involves women in Africa, as producers and consumers of agricultural products. It will show links between Western aid and food security issues. It will argue for a greater voice for women in the production, distribution and consumption of food in local contexts, which argues for fundamental changes to African cultures, where women often have very few rights, such as lack of rights to property ownership or little or no involvement in community decision making. As a case study, the paper will discuss a study of food shortages in the rainy season in the Sub-Saharan country Malawi and the outside work which women have to do to decrease food scarcity.(Kerr, 2005) The problems the poor face in the case study, it will show, reflects the general concerns that are expressed by other authors in this paper who take a sympathetic view to the problems of the oppression of women in Africa and how it relates to food scarcity.
[...] Mulama, and the other women authors used in this paper, in contrast, look at the combination of technological solutions, as well as the day to day realities of women's lives, thus pointing out how invisibility of women in Africa denies the truth, meaning the extent of the labour that women put into maintaining food security. (Kerr, 2005; Okoli and Umeh 2001; Mulama, 2004) In their article Okoli and Umah discuss ways in which women, culturally, are the ‘backbone' of food production and food security for themselves, their husbands, extended kin and children. [...]
[...] Food security does not only refer to access to food to eat, but also to the production and distribution system of food. It also has a larger meaning that of health of individuals and families. As women in Africa are largely responsible for food security, their second-class status prevents them from being able, in many cases, to take care of their food needs, as well as the needs of their children. The women work long hours and often work both in the home and outside in order to make enough money to feed and clothe their families. [...]
[...] (Breman and Debrah: 154) The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates the need for per capita spending on agriculture for growth; in parts of Sub- Saharan Africa the rate of investment is less than $1. (Breman and Debrah: 154) Therefore, Breman and Debrah see internal, structural problems from the perspective of agricultural science and modernization as key factors limiting agricultural growth and food security. (Berman and Debrah: 154) They assert most agriculture in Africa is of a subsistence variety, and that the soils themselves are not favourable to high agricultural yield. [...]
[...] The report called, Women's Hands: Increasing the Effective Participation of Women in Food and Nutrition Security in Africa states, "For example, the ability to inherit land, to join a credit and savings club, to start up a small enterprise, and to survive in the event of a family breakdown must be equal for both men and women. Customary laws in many countries treat women as minors; thereby restricting their rights to such assets and opportunities.” (Mulama: Thus, there are agencies in the West which understand the problems women face. [...]
[...] (Versi: 11) Therefore, while both articles deal with the increasing food insecurity in Africa, neither, in any point in their articles discuss the importance of African women to agricultural production, nor the impact of aid and modernization on food security in relation to the exclusion of women from decision making. Case Study Kerr (2005) in a study of Malawai food security shows that both in the north and south of the country, which is in Sub-Saharan Africa, more women than men participate in an informal labour form called ganyu. [...]
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