Feeding the world is about more than just satisfying stomachs. Food scientists and nutritionists have long recognized that the foods we eat not only need to fill us up, but nourish our bodies as well.
The problem of ‘hidden hunger’ — deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals — continues to pose serious threats to populations and economies around the world. A lack of micronutrients like iron, zinc and vitamin A in diets can lead to blindness, disease or even death, particularly for women and for children under the age of five.
Over two billion people across the world suffer from hidden hunger, the consumption of a sufficient number of calories, but still lacking essential nutrients such as vitamin A, iron or zinc. This can lead to severe health damage, blindness, or even death, particularly among children under the age of five. Furthermore, a recent FAO report estimates the number of undernourished people worldwide at over 800 million, with severe food insecurity and undernourishment increasing in almost all sub-regions of Africa, as well as across South America.
A diverse and inclusive agricultural framework can
be fostered by involving both women and men from different socioeconomic
backgrounds and age groups in agricultural innovation interventions. Such an
approach can ensure equitable access to resources while stimulating local
innovation and development outcomes. Achieving this aim is a complex task.
Gender-focused agricultural research for development can inform and streamline
A special issue of the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security comprises a set of six studies drawing on data collected for the GENNOVATE initiative – a CIMMYT-led, cross-CRP global comparative research initiative, part-funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE). The initiative gathered the perspectives and experiences of over 7000 women and men from diverse backgrounds and varied age groups in 137 rural communities across 26 countries during individual interviews, focus groups and community discussions. The special issue reveals a lot about what influences women’s and men’s agency and empowerment to utilize agricultural innovations to improve their livelihoods.
Central to the studies is the concept of gender
‘norms’ which are social rules surrounding women’s and men’s expected roles and
behaviors. Such ‘norms’ can influence a person’s ability to access,
adopt, adapt and benefit from innovations in agricultural and natural resource