Agriculture is central to the livelihoods of the rural poor and in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Agricultural development is necessary for reducing poverty and food insecurity, and can be the engine of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, where it contributes 35% of the gross domestic product (GDP) (FAO, 2009).
According to FAO, women in Sub- Sahara African countries constitute 70% of the agricultural workers and provide 60-80% of the labor to produce food for household consumption and sale. They are also responsible for 100% of the processing of basic foodstuffs; 80% of food storage and transport from field to village; 90% of the hoeing and weeding work; and 60% of the harvesting and marketing activities (FAO Women and Population Division, 2007). These data indicate that women farmers bear more than half of the responsibility for agricultural labor. However, their agricultural productivity and their access to markets is generally very low. Consequently, women-headed rural households tend to be poorer and more food insecure than those headed by men (FAO, 2009).