chapter  5
38 Pages


Agriculture plays a central role in the economies of low-income countries, account-

ing for more than 70 per cent of employment-compared with 30 per cent in middle-

income countries and just 4 per cent in high-income countries. Particularly in

low-income African countries, agriculture is also a major source of foreign

exchange earnings and supplies incomes, basic foods and subsistence livelihoods

for most of the population (UN, 2002). Women in rural Africa produce, process

and store up to 80 per cent of food, while in South and Southeast Asia women do

60 per cent of cultivation work and other food production (UNIFEM, 2000). In

most developing countries achieving equitable, sustainable progress on human

development requires increasing food security and agricultural productivity,

incomes and employment.