The research team behind the report believes that with the right advice and resources, yields can be increased for entire communities – although these changes can only be implemented if women have the power to make decisions.
More needs to be done to achieve gender equality in agriculture, says the research team
A study investigating bean productivity among smallholder farmers in Tanzania found that female farmers had an average of six percent lower yields than male farmers. Women are often „invisible” in agriculture, say researchers, due to social structural barriers and national agricultural policies that do not address discriminatory land rights. Education and agriculture information and decision-making that need to be addressed to reverse this trend.
The per „What does Gender Yield G tell us about smallholders in developing countries?” published in the open access journal Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing (MDPI), analyzed data from southern Tanzania that has been collected since 2016, and also drew on research from case studies carried out in the region in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, among others were.
„We believe this six percent drop in productivity is significant as it shows that with access to the right information and resources, and if we intend to include gender in new interventions, they can significantly increase their yields,” said he Eileen Nchanji, Gender Specialist at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (The Alliance).
„Our case studies from Burundi and Zimbabwe have shown that when women have access to improved seeds and information, they can double their yields,” she added.
The researchers highlight that issues that are more preoccupying to women are often ignored at the political level. These include providing more nutritious food crops like beans to the family instead of relying on styles like corn that generate more income but offer less nutritional value, choosing varieties with attributes like faster cooking times or easier processing attributes, and general household food safety.
The challenges women face in increasing crop yields include land rights and ownership, according to the research team. Even if women have been given access to better seeds and knowledge of how to plant them to increase yields, they may not have the power to make changes if the land is not theirs. Even though women do around 65 percent more work on the farm than men, they do not always have the same access to information or technology, which leads to lower yields.
Agness Nduguru, a researcher at Uyole Agricultural Research Institute, Mbeya, Tanzania, said a key solution at the community level is to ensure the shared distribution of end resources between women and men. „Even if we train on gender restrictions and differences and communities are aware of production and yield, women at the political level must be able to make their own decisions if we are to eradicate poverty.”
„We looked at who manages the land or makes decisions about the property, what age and gender they are, and what information and knowledge they have access to,” said Enid Katungi, Allianz agricultural economist.
“We noticed structural differences. Women tend to farm degraded land, which highlights the differences in power within households in relation to resources. So it is clear that we need intervention to address these differences at both development and policy levels and to involve all decision-makers in the community at all levels. „
The study also found that women who had their families involved in plant variety decisions often saw better yields, and that access to improved varieties increased productivity by 35 percent compared to growing native or local varieties, allowing access to better information and resources for both implied men and women is key. However, age, family size, years of schooling, and the way a woman spends income on beans or other crops all limit a woman’s ability to produce more food and nutritious family meals in general.
Main recommendations for tackling gender inequality in improving agricultural yields include gender-based support for the closure of yields, ensuring an even distribution of incomes and reducing poverty among women farmers. These include targeted strategies to empower women through education and free seed supply improvement, participatory plant breeding taking into account variety attributes that appeal to women, as well as a change in national policies on gender issues in agriculture and general public support for funding Agriculture of women.