Last year I was delighted and privileged to meet three women who had travelled to Australia from South Africa. Colette, Roseline and Gertruida, from the organisation Women on Farms, were here to speak about the silent majority of people who are hungry around the world – women food producers.
It was a real eye-opener to me to hear about the challenges faced by small-scale food producers. I learned that 80% of the people in the world that go hungry, are actually involved in food production- a baffling statistic. Some of the challenges faced include poor transport routes to market, lack of adequate storage for food, and even dealing with the food distributors. The changing climate also has a huge impact on the ability of small-scale producers to maximise their yield.
Women on Farms also aims to help seasonal and unemployed workers to better feed themselves and their communities and increase their income. They are changing their farming techniques to be more sustainable and adapt to a changing climate. They have succeeded in addressing so many challenges, including improving safety on routes to market, negotiating with food distributors and forming cooperatives to strengthen their position.
Listening to the stories of the women, their challenges and their triumphs, it was once again made abundantly clear to me: When it comes to raising our families, we are all the same. We will work and campaign and fight for the rights of our children. It’s just that, in certain areas of the world, those rights are far more fundamental than what we in Australia are used to campaigning for. The right to eat. The right to live.
To support Oxfam’s amazing work in empowering the people who have no food security, take the GROW! challenge.
Note: Photo by Michael Myers