It’s estimated that by 2100 the global population will reach nearly 10 billion people and require an additional two quadrillion calories to meet the nutritional needs of the growing population.
Rising to this challenge, while respecting the natural limits of our planet, will take every person in our food system embracing more productive and less resource intensive forms of agriculture.
Unfortunately, right now, society is leaving a huge part of our agricultural workforce behind. In India, for example, women make up 37% of the agricultural workforce and spend almost twice as much time in fields as men. Despite the significant role women play in the agricultural workforce, they typically don’t have access to the trainings, community groups, and technologies that reach male farmers. And, through local interviews, PepsiCo has found that the male farmers who do get this kind of support tend not to pass down what they have learned to their female peers.
So, it’s not a surprise the Food and Agriculture Organization found that if women farmers had the same access to resources as their male counterparts, their food production would increase by up to 30% and help eliminate hunger for 150 million people.
At PepsiCo, we’ve seen the role women play in supporting a more sustainable food system and are committed to ensuring they receive the resources they need to become productive members of our supply chain. And so, we recently entered into a new five-year, $20 million partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development to support women-owned small- and medium-enterprises and our women-led suppliers to improve the resiliency of rural farming communities in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
We expect to find that by engaging women as critical partners, on-farm productivity will increase, compliance with our sustainability standards will improve, supply chain performance will be strengthened, and we will contribute to the long-term resilience of farming communities and PepsiCo’s success.
Our hope is this project will show that supporting a gender-inclusive supply chain is good for business, and those results will encourage other food and beverage companies to invest in women in their own supply chains as they look for new ways to increase productivity.
To learn more about the partnership click here.