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EU to promote women's education in Africa

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Thursday, 24 January 2013

EU to promote women's education in Africa

Education of women could be one of the most important driving forces for sustainable agriculture in Africa, a new study from Gothenburg University in Sweden shows.  
The new research shows that more years of education a woman has, the more likely it is that her household will use sustainable farming practices – helping to combat food insecurity, poverty and degradation of ecosystems along the way.
Women play a key role in most aspects of agricultural production of developing countries – including marketing, household food preparation and nutrition, says Hailemariam Teklewold, one of the researchers behind the study.
Teklewold has studied the different factors that make small farmers in Ethiopia adopt cultivation methods that can increase productivity without destroying the environment. These include conservation tillage, bio-diversification (such as crop rotation), improved crop varieties, use of organic fertilisers, and soil and water conservation measures. The educational level of women in the household turned out to play an important part in how widely these methods are applied.
The Ethiopian researcher said the EU could therefore help local governments invest in rural public education programmes, with a special focus on women.
According to Teklewold's research, the resource constraints are important factors which prevent the adoption and dissemination of sustainable agricultural practices for poor farmers. A solution to the problem could be providing microfinancing to small entrepreneurs and businesses, which lack access to banking services. "Microfinancing poor women could relax such resource constraints and increase the adoption rate of sustainable agricultural practices by smallholder farmers," Teklewold said.

Source: Euractiv