Rwanda: Women farmers in 90 countries face discriminatory land laws

| March 14, 2016

Download this story

According to Agnes Kalibata, Rwanda’s former agriculture minister, women farmers in more than 90 countries still lack an equal right to own land, a situation which harms food production and efforts to tackle poverty. Mrs. Kalibata was speaking last week on International Women’s Day.

She says that approximately 30 per cent of women in eastern and southern Africa nations currently have rights to land, as recognized by laws on land ownership.

In contrast, less than 10 per cent of women in North and Central Africa have access to land.

Without formal land titles, women have a more difficult time feeding and educating their children. Agricultural productivity also suffers, because women farmers are less likely to invest in improving the land without formal ownership.

Mrs. Kalibata adds that, even in countries with good land laws, like Rwanda, lax enforcement and patriarchal customs can make it harder for women farmers to control their incomes.

Many rural women are unaware of new laws granting them access to land. Mrs. Kalibata says governments need to invest in education, so that rural women understand they have the right to own land.

To read more, please go to: