Do Commercialization and Mechanization of a “Women’s Crop” Disempower Women Farmers? Evidence from Zambia and Malawi

Tsusaka, T W and Orr, A and Msere, H W and Homann-Kee Tui, S and Maimisa, P and Twanje, G H and Botha, R (2016) Do Commercialization and Mechanization of a “Women’s Crop” Disempower Women Farmers? Evidence from Zambia and Malawi. In: 2016 Annual Meeting of Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (formerly the American Agricultural Economics Association), July 31- August 02, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

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It is widely believed that commercialization and mechanization of food crops lead to disempowering women as men take over control from women. We argue that women are not necessarily discontent in the face of the agrarian transformation. By collecting sex-disaggregated panel data and applying a ‘women’s crop tool’, we analyze and rethink the implication of agricultural commercialization for intra-household gender relation among smallholder farmers through research on groundnut producers in southern Africa, where groundnut is largely regarded as a ‘women’s crop’. In addition to examining the effect of commercialization in Zambia and Malawi, small-scale post-harvest mechanization was provided experimentally to selected farmers in Zambia. The panel regression results show that commercialization did not lead to disempowering women in either country, which is consistent with the qualitative discussions with farmers held before the baseline surveys. Furthermore, by combining PSM and DID methods, it was found that machine shelling did not disempower women farmers either. The finding provides insights into how gender relation among smallholders is affected at the initial stage of commercialization and mechanization of ‘women’s crops’.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Commercialization, Mechanization, Women’s Crop, Women Farmers, Zambia, Malawi, Gender Research, Food crops Gender, Women, Groundnut
Subjects: Others > Zambia
Mandate crops > Groundnut
Others > Gender Research
Others > Malawi
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 04:44
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2017 03:58
Acknowledgement: Selected Paper prepared for presentation for the 2016 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, Boston, Massachusetts, USA between July 31-August 2. Acknowledgement: The article synergizes the outcome of different research activities implemented by International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and funded by USAID Feed the Future through the I-FINITE Project, Irish Aid through the Malawi Seed Industry Development Project, and the McKnight Foundation through its Collaborative Crop Research Program in which ICRISAT closely collaborates with Compatible Technology International. The women’s crop tool was developed by ICRISAT Eastern and Southern Africa, which was funded by the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets led by International Food Policy Research Institute. The CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes contributed administrative support. The shellers were manufactured by C to C Engineering in Malawi. The authors thank Mr. Whytson Sakala and Ms. Rosie Hoare of Eastern Province Farmers Cooperative for giving access to its groundnut producer groups in Zambia. We also thank the enumerators for collecting data, the lead farmers in each site for mobilizing fellow farmers, and the women and men farmers who pleasantly agreed to join the discussions and answer our questions.
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