15 Oct 2013

UN marks rural women's day

1:52 pm on 15 October 2013

The United Nations says it recognises the critical role and contribution of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

Tuesday marks the United Nations International Day of Rural Women.

Rural Women New Zealand president Liz Evans says she saw the role and contribution first-hand on a recent trip to Channai in India for a Countrywomen of the World Conference.

Liz Evans says it was eye-opening to see the lives women farmers there lead.

"It is subsistence level farming that they're doing there out in the fields all day and a lot of them spend a lot of time tending animals."

"You don't just have them in great big paddocks like we do here and muster them in every now and again - they have to tend their animals every day and walk them to feeding grounds and collect dry matter to bring it back home at night for them to eat," say says.

Ms Evans says she realised on the trip, after speaking with rice paddy workers, how even a very small grant can allow farmers in the developing world to establish profitable and sustainable small businesses.