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Promising approaches to address the needs of poor female farmers:


  • Quisumbing, Agnes
  • Pandolfelli, Lauren


"Gender norms are an important constraint to increasing agricultural productivity. Inequality in the distribution of resources between men and women is linked with production inefficiency, yet interventions targeting smallholder farmers often fail to redress women's lack of access to, and control of, important agricultural resources. Women are often constrained in access to and control of land, water, and other natural resources; complementary inputs, such as seeds and fertilizer; new varieties and technologies; agricultural extension; labor; credit; markets; and social capital. Oftentimes, interventions will be designed to relieve one constraint, not realizing that gender norms—or constraints in other resources—are more binding and may affect the outcome of the intervention. Without specific attention to gender issues, programs and projects are likely to reinforce inequalities between women and men and may even increase resource imbalances. While individual projects cannot hope to redress these inequalities in the short term, at a minimum, interventions should do no harm, and ideally they should catalyze a change process for ending gender discrimination and securing women's access to key resources. This brief focuses on key agricultural resources needed by poor female farmers to generate incomes and ensure their families' food security. It is organized around key resources and promising approaches to increase poor women's control of those resources. One resource that is not included in this review is human capital. It must be emphasized that investing in women's education, health, and nutrition is an integral part of enabling women to guarantee their families'—and their own—well-being. These approaches were identified in the course of a review of projects and interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. However, while many of these interventions are innovative, most of them have not been rigorously evaluated. Where evaluations have been done, little attention has been paid to the differential impacts on men and women, or to which delivery mechanisms may be more effective in reaching different groups of women and men. Many of the approaches were also pilot projects, and without evaluations it is difficult to recommend which of them should be scaled up. Nevertheless, this brief suggests many promising strategies for channeling resources into the hands of female farmers to boost their agricultural productivity." from Text

Suggested Citation

  • Quisumbing, Agnes & Pandolfelli, Lauren, 2008. "Promising approaches to address the needs of poor female farmers:," Research briefs 13, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:resbrf:13

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    Cited by:

    1. Bryan, Elizabeth & Behrman, Julia A., 2013. "Community–based adaptation to climate change: A theoretical framework, overview of key issues and discussion of gender differentiated priorities and participation," CAPRi working papers 109, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Zezza, Alberto & Davis, Benjamin & Azzarri, Carlo & Covarrubias, Katia & Tasciotti, Luca & Anríquez, Gustavo, 2008. "The impact of rising food prices on the poor," ESA Working Papers 289027, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Agricultural Development Economics Division (ESA).
    3. Katie Tavenner & Todd A. Crane, 2018. "Gender power in Kenyan dairy: cows, commodities, and commercialization," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 35(3), pages 701-715, September.
    4. Eduardo Zegarra & Angie Higuchi & Ricardo Vargas, 2017. "Assessing the impacts of a training program for women in Peru: Are There social networking effects?," Working Papers PMMA 2017-02, PEP-PMMA.
    5. Lambrecht, Isabel, 2016. "“As a husband I will love, lead, and provide:†Gendered access to land in Ghana:," IFPRI discussion papers 1514, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Shipekesa, Arthur M. & Jayne, Thomas S., 2012. "Gender Control and Labour Input: Who Controls the Proceeds from Staple Crop Production among Zambian Farmers?," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 140904, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Chung, Kimberly, 2012. "An Introduction to Nutrition-Agriculture Linkages," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 121859, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    8. Driouchi, Ahmed & Zouag, Nada, 2011. "Local Universities as Engines for Innovation and Regional Development in Southern Economies with Reference to MOROCCO," MPRA Paper 30705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. World Bank, 2012. "Lao PDR - Mapping the Gender Dimensions of Trade : A Preliminary Exposition," World Bank Publications - Reports 11914, The World Bank Group.
    10. Sandra I McCoy & Lauren J Ralph & Wema Wilson & Nancy S Padian, 2013. "Alcohol Production as an Adaptive Livelihood Strategy for Women Farmers in Tanzania and Its Potential for Unintended Consequences on Women’s Reproductive Health," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(3), pages 1-10, March.
    11. Scheiterle, Lilli & Birner, Regina, 2018. "Gender, knowledge and power: A case study of Market Queens in Ghana," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274125, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Smale, Melinda, 2011. "Does Household Headship Affect Demand for Hybrid Maize Seed in Kenya? An Exploratory Analysis Based on 2010 Survey Data," Food Security International Development Working Papers 118475, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.

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    Women; Farmers; Gender; food security; Land policy; Water resources; Agricultural inputs; extension activities;
    All these keywords.

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