Agroecology: Helping women in West Africa access land

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If it is recognized that women’s access to land is instrumental in the transition to agroecology, we hear less about the reverse: the role that agroecology can play in strengthening women’s access to and control over land. 

The experience of our counterpart Inades Formation-Togo (IFT) is compelling. The organization found that after receiving training in agroecology, rural women tended to develop strategies to access land so they could put into practice the techniques they had learned. In Kodjo Adja, in the highlands of Togo, women fonio producers who are members of the ENOULI cooperative said that the training allowed them to organize collectively to accessland. 

In the opinion of Donou Afi, president of the cooperative, communal fields have allowed village women who didn’t have enough land to grow fonio to benefit from plots. Even though they do not own the land, they can at least access it. In West Africa, legislation recognizes women’s land rights, but these rights are generally weakened by customary patriarchal norms. IFT’s work has laid the foundation for social recognition of the importance of rural women having access to land.  It is now a matter of building on this foundation to remove barriers that rural women face in relation to land.


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