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Why does Gender matter for agricultural productivity in Africa?

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by Cheryl Doss University of Oxford
Agnes Quisumbing IFPRI

Publié dans : Économie & finance
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Why does Gender matter for agricultural productivity in Africa?

  1. 1. Why does gender matter for agricultural productivity in Africa? Cheryl Doss, University of Oxford Agnes Quisumbing, IFPRI
  2. 2. Women are important in African agriculture— but why is gender important? • A high proportion of economically active women work in agriculture (30-80%) AND the sector itself is important • But gender ≠ women • We are only beginning to understand how gender—the socially constructed relationships, norms, roles, and identities among women and men—underlies gender gaps in agricultural productivity • Gender is relevant to understand both agricultural productivity and well-being
  3. 3. Recent estimates of the gender gap illustrate its importance but also measurement challenges • FAO (2011): equalizing resources of women and men could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 %percent • LSMS-ISA (O’Sullivan 2014), 6 countries: yield gaps of 13-25% • UN Women (2015): closing yield gaps could increase annual crop output by 2.1% (Tanzania), 2.8 % (Uganda), and 7.3% (Malawi) But these estimates are piecemeal measures and only look at productivity of land
  4. 4. Measurement challenges Measuring inputs • Comparisons of yields are based on productivity per unit of land; few estimates consider labor productivity • Lower labor productivity of women: • Lower access to nonlabor inputs that may enhance labor productivity. • If activities are low-return, women could be better off allocating their labor elsewhere • Do not take into account women’s other uncompensated tasks Measuring outputs • Gross value of output better than measuring single crops, BUT • Aggregation also introduces biases • What if women produce “lower- valued” crops? • Women may get lower prices for the same crop in the market
  5. 5. Broader measurement challenges • Accounting for jointly-managed plots: • Most analyses look at plots managed solely by men or women, but jointly-managed plots are important • Measuring livestock in addition to crops • Omission of women’s home gardens because they are not “field crops”
  6. 6. Policy recommendations • Increasing women’s access to labor (particularly male labor) • Increase value of crops grown by women • Improving women farmers’ access to and use of nonlabor inputs in agricultural production.
  7. 7. Increasing access to labor • Enhance women’s use of technologies that save their time on and off the farm • Labor-saving devices (fuel-efficient stoves), access to water near the home • Women may not necessarily spend more time in agriculture, but could shift into home production activities or nonfarm income generating activities • Improve access to hired labor, particularly men’s labor. • Need to consider impacts of labor-saving technology on women: must be easy to use, affordable, and culturally appropriate
  8. 8. Increasing value of crops grown by women • Supporting women in growing higher- value cash crops • Increasing women’s participation in agricultural producer groups • Improving access to markets • Also: ensuring that women maintain control of income as they shift into high-value crops
  9. 9. Increasing women’s use of nonlabor inputs • Increase fertilizer and pesticide use by women • Package fertilizer in small amounts • Innovative delivery mechanisms: free delivery, information- and- communication-based nudges using mobile phones, and cash and in- kind transfers for input purchases, and reducing risk through social protection schemes and crop insurance. • Increase use of machinery • Make sure machinery is culturally appropriate for women to use • Ensure women have means to purchase or hire machinery.
  10. 10. What are we missing? • Need to consider jointness in decision making • Why only consider agricultural productivity? What about reducing poverty? Improving health and nutrition? • Are efforts to increase agricultural productivity consistent with the goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment?
  11. 11. Is increasing agricultural productivity empowering? • Increasing output on women’s fields, without considering their access to markets and control over the income, may not improve their well-being. • Increasing work burden is disempowering • Efforts to increase agricultural productivity must empower women with access to information, resources, and the control over outputs. • Programs to increase agricultural productivity can help to publicly recognize women’s contributions, by including them in their programming and ensuring that women benefit from the increased productivity.

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