Do Female Instructors Reduce Gender Bias in Diffusion of Sustainable Land Management Techniques? Experimental Evidence From Mozambique
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Agricultural innovation is essential to meet the food requirements of Africa's growing population. One pathway to increasing yields may be to enhance female farmer productivity. In many settings, married women cultivate plots separated from those of other family members. They face different challenges to productivity, such as deficiencies in inputs, weak property rights, and time constraints. It has long been argued that traditionally male-dominated extension services may also contribute to a gender bias in adoption of new agricultural techniques. If this is true, placing women in extension positions may help other women overcome barriers to adoption posed by inequitable access to agricultural extension services or exposure to inapt information. To better understand the role of gender in the dissemination of sustainable land management (SLM) techniques, this study uses a randomized policy experiment conducted in 200 communities in Mozambique. We examine the impact of training female messengers of SLM techniques on the awareness, knowledge, and adoption of SLM practices by other female farmers. Communities were randomly selected in 2010 to have a female messenger trained in SLM who was encouraged to teach other women the techniques. Using data from panel surveys collected in the experimental areas, we find women's awareness of pit planting farming techniques increased by 9 percentage points in 2012 and adoption of the technology by 5 percentage points in 2013 in communities with female messengers. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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