The Cost of the Gender Gap in Agricultural Productivity: Five African Countries

United Nations Environment Programme ; United Nations Development Programme ; United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) (2018)

Women represent over half of the agricultural labour force in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their substantive contribution to agriculture and their vital role in ensuring family food security have been widely documented. However, gender-based inequalities in access to and control of productive and financial resources inhibit agricultural productivity and undermine resilience and sustainability efforts. The evidence clearly shows that gender gaps in access to inputs have high economic costs and can affect the extent to which farmers adopt new resource management practices and technological innovations. This report reviews a number of studies to help policymakers diagnose and better understand the nature of these gaps so that agricultural interventions are more effective, scalable and practical. It provides an overview of the key trends identified in these studies and how they compare with patterns documented in other published studies. The UN Women–PEI studies focus on five Eastern and Southern African countries: Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The present report also summarizes lessons on best practices in eradicating inequities in the agricultural sector emerging from the UN Women and PEI studies.

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