INTERNATIONAL RURAL WOMEN’S DAY – OCTOBER 15
Although women are more present than ever in the rural world, this is by no means a recent trend. The reality is that women have been working the land for many years. Rural women are leaders in agriculture, food security and nutrition, as well as land and natural resource management. The main issue holding them back is limited access to land, financing, markets, education and training, adequate working conditions and, of course, a general lack of equality.
In developing countries, access to land is the main problem for women. In some parts of the world, women have no right to own or manage land, thus limiting decision-making in agricultural agreements that could provide them with higher incomes.
According to FAO, removing gender-specific barriers by empowering women would not only represent a significant change in their family economics but would also help increase food production by 30%. This would lead to a reduction in the number of malnourished people in the world, which is currently approximately 820 million, the majority of whom are living in developing countries.
Closer to home, we are fortunate that the differences between genders are not as pronounced. We see this in the ‘new generation’ of farmers in Ibiza, who are predominantly female. In fact, women have always been a part of the farming culture in the Ibiza ‘campo’. Before the tourist boom, Ibicencos worked the land, raised livestock, harvested their own food and produced their own wine, bread, cold cuts and sweets etc. Generation after generation, farmland here was tended to by both husband and wife, sons and daughters – a very common tradition in Ibiza and one which always featured women.
Ibiza is currently experiencing a significant agricultural revolution. Children and grandchildren of farmers are recovering the lands and traditions of their families. Their respect for traditions and passion for the countryside, together with the autonomy and satisfaction that their own production brings them, make this new generation of ‘payeses/as’ a great alternative to the major industry that Ibiza thrives on, i.e. tourism.
Through our work at Ibiza Produce, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of ‘campo’ projects which involve women.
We spoke with Marina Moran Jou of the project LEADER, the EU Rural Development Programme, whose main objective is to engage local actors in the design and implementation of strategies, decision-making and resource allocation for the development of Ibiza and Formentera’s rural areas.
Ibiza Produce – What are the challenges and opportunities for women who want to work in the agricultural sector?
Marina – The rural woman is an icon of strength and perseverance. She has always worked the land silently without being appreciated and recognized. Work has been under way in recent years to reclaim women’s role in the rural world. In this age of change and opportunity, it is necessary to continue to fight for this recognition, by means of rural development programmes that help to incorporate women and are adapted to their circumstances, while still showing gratitude for their daily work and effort in the field.
Ibiza Produce – How did you get involved in agriculture?
Marina – I come from a family of farmers and ranchers from Toledo (Castilla la Mancha). I grew up in the rural world, soaking up the traditional culture of small towns, the ancient trades, the values and principles that our grandparents taught us, always taking care of and cultivating nature, and learning from it. I studied Environmental Sciences and then Ecological Agriculture. The rural world for me has always been a priority and a way of life.
Ibiza Produce – What do you like most about agriculture?
Marina – Through agriculture you get to experience life to the fullest, because you value the simple life. You learn from nature’s rhythms, the patience and determination with which plants grow, the effort and dedication required when performing day-to-day tasks, and the strength to build our future every day. Always helping to take care of our environment, preserving the landscape and nourishing the land while producing food that will provide the local population with authentic knowledge and flavours.
Ibiza Produce – Tell us about your current project – the promotion of local crop varieties in Ibiza and why it is important for consumers to buy these products.
Marina – The project of the recovery and promotion of local varieties of Ibiza and Formentera is a collaboration between LEADER and the Consell of Ibiza. This work is of great importance since it is the cultural, genetic and gastronomic heritage of the agricultural sector of our islands. They are seeds that the peasants selected and passed on from one generation to the next, adapted to the conditions of the land, and they embody a culture and gastronomic tradition that must last through the cultivation and consumption of these heirloom varieties.
You can follow the latest news from the LEADER programme on their Instagram account by clicking here