Based on the 2011 Global Hunger Index, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has the most severe level of hunger and malnutrition. There is growing recognition that development in the agriculture sector and increasing productivity will be critical to reverse this trend. A growing set of literature looks at gender disparity in access to critical inputs, knowledge and markets, which have been shown to contribute to low productivity and nutrition insecurity. This assessment contributes to the knowledge gap by compiling existing empirical evidence and investigating the gender gaps in access to resources and opportunities in the agriculture and food sector in the DRC. This is a key sector in achieving food and nutrition security; 73 percent of economically active women depend primarily on this sector for their livelihood. This assessment draws on various sources of data, including (1) village-level and producer organization–level surveys carried out in 145 villages in the three provinces of Bandundu, Bas-Congo, and Kinshasa; (2) nationally representative surveys; (3) semi-structured interviews with a wide range of stakeholders; (4) a review of project, policy, and legal documents for their attention to gender issues; and (5) an extensive literature review. The assessment emphasizes the urgent need to (1) address inconsistencies in the laws and ensure implementation of those laws that do offer opportunities for women; (2) improve both men’s and women’s knowledge of nutritious food choices; (3) build on vibrant women’s organizations to link them with markets and equip them with technical, financial and management capacity; and (4) invest in skills and knowledge (through innovative information and communication technologies and extension services) and in girls’ education.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)