Magazine article Women in Action

Gender Links Agriculture and Climate Change: Climate Change Has Emerged as the Most Serious Issue to Affect the World. However, Its Disproportionate Impact Can Be Most Felt in Already Marginalised Sectors. One of Them Is Agriculture. This Is the Case Even Though Small Scale Farmers Have Contributed Comparatively Little to the Greenhouse Gases That Choke the Earth's Atmosphere

Magazine article Women in Action

Gender Links Agriculture and Climate Change: Climate Change Has Emerged as the Most Serious Issue to Affect the World. However, Its Disproportionate Impact Can Be Most Felt in Already Marginalised Sectors. One of Them Is Agriculture. This Is the Case Even Though Small Scale Farmers Have Contributed Comparatively Little to the Greenhouse Gases That Choke the Earth's Atmosphere

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Many continue to live in communion with the environment, despite the pressures of migration to urban areas. Many still heavily derive their livelihood and culture from the land. But these are changing with the usual droughts, floods, storms, heat, pests and diseases which spell insecurity, illness, disaster, hunger and even death to farmers.

Asian farmers are among those who have been hit by these unpredicatable climactic patterns, given the region's proneness to tropical disasters. As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) report explained, "Small scale men and women farmers have fewer resources for coping with storms, floods, droughts, disease outbreaks and disruptions to food and water supplies. They are eager for economic development themselves, but may find that this already difficult process has become more difficult because of climate change."

Of all farmers, women have the least leverage to adapt with and prepare for extreme weather conditions and disasters. Women farmers are often the poorest and quite dependent on their harvests. Thus, when climate patterns drastically change or when disasters strike, nothing is left for women farmers.

As Jang, a member of South Korea's Women's Advanced Farmers' Federation shared, "Climate is an important factor in agriculture since it can affect every step of the crop's growth. Extreme floods and droughts mean death to our crops and spells loss of income."

Jang is also concerned with the unpredictability of the weather, that affects women in preparing for disasters like floods. She noticed that there has been much more rainfall, causing the rare floods. As she recalled, "My mother has experienced only two floods in her lifetime. In my lifetime, I have experienced five floods already. And there may be some more in the near future, although I surely hope they will not happen again."

Agriculture in South Korea has changed significantly over the years especially with the agro-based industrialisation, technology development and mass production. But it has also suffered with the increasing scarcity of natural resources like agricultural lands and water.

Women's vulnerability also stems from their multiple roles. One of which is providing food on the family's dining table. They prepare the food that they themselves have grown along with the staples that they traded. This is also why women play a critical role in ensuring good nutrition and food safety across the region. As climate change directly impacts food supply, women farmers tend to be more burdened for they ate the first to problematise how they would feed their families.

As Thai woman farmer Amortrat Mingrod said, "Our work in the house and in the fields starts from the morning until the evening. We have to cook. We have to feed our children. We also have to work in the fields." Mingrod, who heads a local group of women's farmers, SorKorPor, added that one of the impacts of climate change is the increasing migration of people towards urban areas to work in factories.

In a consultation that was run by the Asian Framers Association (AFA), one Cambodian farmer said that when their harvest is poor, women, unlike men, find it hard to sleep because they are thinking of where and how to get food for their family. She also said that food insecurity and economic hardships due to crop failures also tend to create an environment that supports domestic violence, as men often take out their frustrations on women.

Indeed in times of crisis, women tend to sacrifice the most. In fact, one of the coping strategies cited by women farmers from Cambodia, Indonesia and Timor Leste was for women to reduce their food intake. Some changed the diet of their families. Still others had to ask food from their neighbours and other sources.

But women farmers are not only a vulnerable sector. They are also active stakeholders in responding to climate change. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.