UN Women partnership launches rural development project to help more than 300,000 people in China’s Hunan Province

Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2021

[Press release]

Beijing, China — UN Women China and its partners today launched a five-year project to boost agricultural productivity in China’s Hunan Province while protecting livelihoods against the risks of climate change. The project, focused on women farmers, is expected to benefit about 328,000 people.

The Hunan Rural Revitalization Demonstration Project is a partnership among UN Women, the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Hunan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. It involves 10 counties, including Changde, Xiangxi, Shaoyang and Chenzhou.

The project aims to strengthen the livelihoods of female farmers through the use of practices resilient to variabilities in climate. This includes:

  • Giving the farmers training on gender awareness and leadership, climate-resilient agricultural technologies, marketing, and finance and entrepreneurship
  • Giving financial and technical support to small and medium-sized enterprises led by women, including training on marketing, entrepreneurship and digital technologies
  • Promoting policies and practices that meet the needs and concerns of women, by documenting and compiling such policies and practices and strengthening women’s contacts with government authorities and the private sector

The project was established in line with the priority given to rural revitalization in China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). Women make up 70 per cent of the country’s rural labour force, according to a government document on gender equality released in 2015.

Although China declared in 2020 that it had eradicated extreme poverty, rural households remain vulnerable. That year, the average income in rural areas of Hunan was just 40 per cent of that in urban areas. The province also is flood-prone; in 2020, flooding affected more than 6.8 million residents and caused about $2.14 billion in damage.

Smriti Aryal, Head of UN Women China, said at the project launch ceremony in Hunan’s Guzhang County: “We cannot revitalize the rural economy without actively mobilizing women’s capacity for agriculture upskilling, climate change adaptation and scaling up sustainable agribusinesses, which secure jobs and incomes for rural families against rising climate risks.”

Aryal stressed the importance of supporting women’s participation in leading and governing rural areas.

The project also supports the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (2021-2025) between the United Nations and China.

Funding for the project comes from a loan from the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development and matching funds from the Chinese Government, the private sector and others.

For further information:

Zhao Wenting
Communications Officer, UN Women China | Email: wenting.zhao@unwomen.org | Tel: +86 (10) 8532 6687