Friday, April 13, 2012

Ensuring Food Security; women can use their “bodies” to bring men back to the farm work.

I think I now have a reason to hate dusty and very hot weather. February and March temperatures almost killed my favorite eggplant tree being my house. Rains came down recently and it’s breathing life again, I am not worried bout loosing it any more. As I pruned away a few branches today morning, I remembered one women; Mama Lamu (not real name) as we all at ICOD Action Network call her. I have been visiting her home for the past 7 years but on all occasions, I have had to look for her in her banana plantation is located on beautiful hill behind her house where she works for over 8 hours per day. In her mid 40s, she can make between 100 300 bricks per day, build a kiln and, (I have a sad story) her husband takes control at this point, sells the bricks, sells the harvest and goes back to town because he has two more wives there. This makes me very sad but her story, hard work and resilience have kept our friendship strong, she hugs me ever time we meet. Mama Lamu is one of millions of women who continue to be exploited throughout the country daily.

Women play a significant role in agriculture, the world over. About 70% of the agricultural workers, 80% of food producers, and 10% of those who process basic foodstuffs are women and they also undertake 60 to 90% of the rural marketing; thus making up more than two-third of the workforce in agricultural production (FAO, 1985). Despite the fact that women produce much of the food in the developing world, they also remain more malnourished than most men are. In many rural societies, women eat less food than men do, especially when the food is scarce, such as just before the harvest, or when the workload increases without a corresponding increase in the food intake.

Agriculture can be an important engine of growth and poverty reduction in Uganda. But the sector is underperforming partly because women, who are often a crucial resource in agriculture and the rural economy, face constraints that reduce their productivity and are constantly exploit despite being major producers. According to a 2000 the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) study under the Gender Strengthening Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa, it was discovered that agriculture is the main source of income for rural households in Uganda and the main occupation of women. Nationwide, 72% of all employed women and 90% of all rural women work in agriculture.

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the rapid modernization of agriculture and the introduction of new technologies, such as those that characterized the green revolution, have benefited the wealthy more than the poor, and men more than women. This premise is also supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which has found that new techniques in agriculture, particularly those involving commercialization, "often shift economic control, employment and profit from women to men". The diversion of income from women causes increased suffering for families because studies have found that, in general, income controlled by women benefits families more than income controlled by men.

In some regions such as Africa and Asia, we have seen a new trend called the feminization of agriculture which has increased women’s work in agriculture and reduced profitability because there has been increased "casualization" of work, unprofitable crop production and distress migration of men for higher casual work in non-agriculture sectors, leaving women to take up low paid casual work in agriculture.

What women should do to force men back to farm work.

Lisa A. Romano is the author of "The Road Back To Me" writes in her recent article Why Men Need Sex; Understanding the Link Between Sex and Love in Men. “ … Men need sex to feel emotionally connected to the woman in their lives. Through sex, men get to feel that we find them attractive and worthy. When we have sex with our partners, we validate them in a way that their emotional make up requires….”.

Elena Solomon a dating coach in her article, Why Men Want Sex and Women Want Love also writes “The reason humans want sex is due to the hormone testosterone, which is predominantly male hormone. A normal male’s body produces 20 times more of this hormone than a female’s. In other words, a male feels the same way after one day without sex as a female after 20 days without sex. A male that has not had sex in 20 days feels the same way as a female after more than a year without sex”.

Knowing this simple difference, I think we now understand the pain of the opposite gender and the reason why men are men and women are women.

Imagine if women in all villages around the country denied men sex for six eight months which I think might be equivalent to two planting seasons? Imagine that women demanded for equal control of farm investment capital and started making decisions on how to spend farm income and how much to invest in their respective farms per season? Imagine if all women adopted a “no farming, no sex” approach? How many men would we have back in the farms to do the “dirty” work? What would be annual harvest and impact on family incomes? I strongly believe we would have no famine, malnutrition and other food insecurity related problems.

Ahabwe Mugerwa Michael

The writer is the founder ICOD Action Network and Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies. You can contact him through

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