New York, NY (BBN)– Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on the international community to give rural women the same access to productive resources as men, noting the huge benefits that would ensue, from increased food production to a drop of 150 million in the number of the world’s hungry people.

“Despite the heavy responsibility rural women shoulder, they lack equal access to opportunities and resources,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s celebration of the International Day of Rural Women. “This hampers their advancement and holds all people back.

He cited UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) studies showing that over 100 million people could be lifted out of poverty if rural women had the same access to productive resources as men. Productivity on women’s farms would increase up to 30 per cent and the number of hungry people would drop by as much as 17 per cent, which translates into improvements for up to 150 million individuals.

Currently the number of hungry people worldwide is estimated at around 1.0 billion.

BBN/SSR/AD-15Oct11-11:49 am (BST)