Gender and agroforestry in Africa: a review of women's participation uri icon

abstract

  • This paper presents a review of agroforestry in Africa from a gender perspective. It examines women's participation relative to men and the challenges and successes they experience. Particular agroforestry practices examined include fodder production and utilization, soil fertility management, woodlots and indigenous fruit and vegetable production and processing. The review shows that agroforestry has the potential to offer substantial benefits to women; however, their participation is low in enterprises that are considered men's domain, such as timber and high in enterprises that have little or no commercial value, such as collection of indigenous fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, the degree of women's involvement relative to men in technologies such as soil fertility management, fodder production and woodlots is fairly high in terms of proportion of female-headed households participating but is low as measured by the area they allocate to these activities and the number of trees they plant. Data on whether women are able to manage agroforestry practices as well as men are mixed, although it is clear that women do most of the work. In cases where they do not perform well, the reasons are mostly due to scarcity of resources. In marketing, women are confined to the lower end of the value chain (retailing), which limits their control over and returns from the productive process. In order to promote gender equity in agroforestry and to ensure that women benefit fully, the paper recommends various policy, technological and institutional interventions. These include (1) facilitating women to form and strengthen associations, (2) assisting women to improve productivity and marketing of products considered to be in womens' domain and (3) improving women's access to information by training more women extension staff, holding separate meetings for women farmers, and ensuring that women are fully represented in all activities
  • This paper presents a review of agroforestry in Africa from a gender perspective. It examines women's participation relative to men and the challenges and successes they experience. Particular agroforestry practices examined include fodder production and utilization, soil fertility management, woodlots and indigenous fruit and vegetable production and processing. The review shows that agroforestry has the potential to offer substantial benefits to women; however, their participation is low in enterprises that are considered men's domain, such as timber and high in enterprises that have little or no commercial value, such as collection of indigenous fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, the degree of women's involvement relative to men in technologies such as soil fertility management, fodder production and woodlots is fairly high in terms of proportion of female-headed households participating but is low as measured by the area they allocate to these activities and the number of trees they plant. Data on whether women are able to manage agroforestry practices as well as men are mixed, although it is clear that women do most of the work. In cases where they do not perform well, the reasons are mostly due to scarcity of resources. In marketing, women are confined to the lower end of the value chain (retailing), which limits their control over and returns from the productive process. In order to promote gender equity in agroforestry and to ensure that women benefit fully, the paper recommends various policy, technological and institutional interventions. These include (1) facilitating women to form and strengthen associations, (2) assisting women to improve productivity and marketing of products considered to be in womens' domain and (3) improving women's access to information by training more women extension staff, holding separate meetings for women farmers, and ensuring that women are fully represented in all activities.

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012
  • 2012