To the editor:
I applaud Olivier De Schutter for raising women’s critical role in agriculture in “The Feminization of Farming” (Op-Ed, March 4). He is correct that empowering women is the key to improving food security in the developing world, but to do this, we first have to listen to women.
Too often, the development community proposes high-tech, private-enterprise engagement as the magic bullet. Science, technology and business are important, but often what female farmers can best use are low-tech, no-cost solutions based on the resources already available to them.
Assisting female farmers is about more than just providing them with resources; it’s about helping them understand their circumstances and choose the best solutions for themselves and their families.
Smart development engages beneficiaries before the problems and their solutions are chosen. Anything else is an experiment with the lives of the people we are trying to help.
Co-founder and President
Women Thrive Worldwide
Washington, March 6, 2013